The Storm

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In Kate Chopin’s “The Storm”, a married woman breaks free from the patriarchal norm of her time. This story embodies feminism for many reasons—some of which are giving female characters typical “male” characteristics and discussing female sexuality. An affair that would usually be looked at with distaste and as an abomination is nonchalantly recounted in this shocking tale. It is also representative of Chopin’s background and symbolizes the turning of a page for women everywhere. This story goes into the female psyche and questions the sanctity of marriage in a very traditional time. Chopin uses foreshadowing and nature scenes to entangle the reader in the story. This metonymy is about a horrible storm and an even worse affair and is presented boldly in a non-judgmental way, never acknowledging the moral aspects of any of the characters’ actions but always pushing the envelope of the reader’s superego.

To understand the mindset of Chopin as she writes her short story “The Storm”, the audience needs to know about the history behind the author. Chopin was raised in St. Louis, but early in her life she married and moved to New Orleans. “Kate's family on her mother's side was of French extraction, and Kate grew up speaking both French and English. She was bilingual and bicultural--feeling at home in different communities with quite different values--and the influence of French life and literature on her thinking is noticeable throughout her fiction” (Koloski). As a child, Chopin went to Sacred Heart School and formed bonds with many women there. As a girl, she was mentored by women--by her mother, her grandmother, and her great grandmother, as well as by the Sacred Heart nuns. Because of these strong female bonds, Chopin wrote much of her work based on the nurturing she received. Even through all the nurturing, Chopin’s early life was full of trauma; her father, great-grandmother, and half-brother all passed away in a matter of years. Many of her stories take place in New Orleans and have the Creole traditions as a quiet theme to her provoking works. The city was bustling and provided an amazing backdrop to the new marriage Kate entered into with Oscar Chopin. The city was full of inspiration that fueled her creative side. By twenty-eight, she had 6 children—five boys and one girl-- and a husband all while helping to manage a cotton business. The year after her last child was born, the business failed and the young couple and their full family found themselves managing small plantations and a general store to get by. Tragedy struck again when Chopin’s husband died of malaria when she was only thirty-two. This left her a widow with six kids and she never remarried, though she was rumored to have an affair with a married farmer. Nevertheless, Chopin then moved with her children back to St. Louis where she found better schools for them and a richer cultural life for herself. Tragedy would strike another time when shortly after their move, in 1885, her mother passed away. Chopin was encouraged by a family friend to write as a way to let out her pent up emotions and therein she found her outlet. Chopin is quoted in a review saying, "I once heard a devotee of impressionism admit, in looking at a picture by Monet, that, while he himself had never seen in nature the peculiar yellows and reds therein depicted, he was convinced that Monet had painted them because he saw them and because they were true. With something of a kindred faith in the sincerity of Mons. Zola’s work, I am yet not at all times ready to admit its truth, which is only equivalent to saying that our points of view differ, that truth rests upon a shifting basis and is apt to be kaleidoscopic" (Koloski). This gives the audience a glimpse into what Chopin’s goal in writing was. She felt it extremely important to impress upon others issues that she understood to be true.

An issue Chopin took a hard stance on was feminism. While Chopin has been quoted as...
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