In the short story “The Storm” by Kate Chopin, the main character Calixta is a wife and mother who appears to be unhappy and restless in her marriage and commits adultery. Calixta is able to fulfill her sexual desires with another man and does not feel guilty about it. Some readers may say that Calixta’s attitude on having an affair is selfish and most readers will not identify with the main character but may know characters that have Calixta’s mentality.
Readers first get a glimpse of Calixta in the beginning of the story when her son Bibi mentions she’ll be afraid of the approaching storm; he refers to her as “Mama” (99). Calixta’s husband Bobinot reveals her name as he thinks of her when he finds a can of shrimp she’ll like. Calixta is officially introduced at home working as she waits for her son and husband to come home. She is described to be a good wife who takes pride in her housework. Chopin writes, “She sat at a side window sewing furiously on a sewing machine” (99). This tells readers she works hard to take care of her home and is probably sewing furiously to tend to other chores mentioned such as laundry, cleaning and making supper. She is more thoroughly described physically as beautiful, “…but she had lost nothing of her vivacity. Her blue eyes still retained their melting quality…” Readers will assume that she is very pretty and even though it’s been a few years since her and Alcee had their encounter a few years back, she is still beautiful. Readers may have the impression that because of Calixa’s marriage, she’s grounded in family life however Chopin’s description of her looks implies that she hasn’t lost the qualities that make her interesting and eye-catching.
Chopin has established that Calixta is a good mother and wife at the beginning of the story but once Calixta see’s Alcee, readers begin to see a change within her and how apparently the significance of her marriage does also. She was trying to contain her sexual longings...
Cited: Chopin, Kate. “The Storm.” Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 3rd ed. New York: Longman, 2010. 98-103. Print.
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