The Storm

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Kate Chopin’s short story “The Storm” describes an encounter of infidelity between two lovers during a brief thunderstorm. The story alludes to the controversial topic of women’s sexuality and passion, which during Chopin’s time no one spoke about much less wrote about. So controversial was “The Storm,” that it was not published until after her death in eighteen ninety-nine. The story is broken up into five sections, each filled with small clues and hints that reflect her message. In short, Kate Chopin’s “The Storm” is about a confirmation of feminine sexuality and passion and a rejection of the suppression of it by society. The title of “The Storm” gives the reader a peek into the underlying meaning of the story. It obviously portrays feelings of sexual energy, passion, and explosiveness, but the storm refers to nature, which historically has a feminine association. The storm takes on the personification of a deep, rumbling cloud of feminine sexuality and passion waiting to explode. Throughout the story, the intensity of the storm is symbolic of the intensity of Calixta’s passion. At the onset of the story, Chopin subtly exposes the idea that women of the time are expected to repress their feelings of sexuality and passion. The scene is set as Calixta is attending to household chores unaware that a storm is imminent. Chopin writes, “She sat at a side window sewing furiously on a sewing machine. She was greatly occupied and did not notice the approaching storm. She unfastened her white sacque at the throat. It began to grow dark, and suddenly realizing the situation she got up hurriedly and went about closing windows and doors.” This scene foreshadows a sexual encounter to come, but more importantly tells the reader how unaware Calixta is of her own sexuality and passion. Her sexuality has been repressed by the constraints of her marriage and...
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