3 May 2013
Symbolism in “The Storm”
“The Storm” written by Kate Chopin starts off with Bibi at a local store called Friedheimer’s with his father Bibinot. Bibi and Bibinot notice that there is a storm on the way, so Bibinot lets his son know that his mom, Calixta, will be okay during the storm. Bibinot and Bibi decide to stay at the store and wait patiently for the storm to pass through them. Meanwhile, Calixta is at home and does not even notice that the storm was coming in. Once she finally realizes the storm is coming, she goes around the house shutting the windows and doors. As she is preparing herself for the storm, she sees an old lover of hers, Alcee. Calixta allows Alcee to come into the house, so he is not outside during the storm. Alcee comforts Calixta with nice comforting words during the storm and ends up kissing Calixta. By the end of the storm, Alcee and Calixta have made love on the couch, and then he leaves once the storm is over. Calixta makes sure Bibi and Bibinot are okay when they arrive after the storm. Later that night, Alcee writes to his wife telling her to stay in Biloxi with the children as long as she needs to. Alcee’s wife is very excited and happy when she receives his letter. Kate Chopin finishes the story by stating that everybody is happy now that the storm has passed. The way Kate Chopin uses the characters in “The Storm” as symbols are a good way to tell the different abstract meanings behind the story.
Symbolism is one of the most used literary devices that are used throughout the entire short story, “The Storm”. The many different symbols that are in the story may represent many different things. Even one character could represent different symbols depending on the time and place during the story. Kate Chopin does a great job implementing symbols throughout her story by using her characters to represent different concepts of ideas. One of the clearest symbols throughout the short story involves Calixta and her own beauty. Once Calixta realizes the storm is on its way, she goes outside to retrieve her clothes that are out there drying. She then notices a previous love of hers, Alcee. While they are both in the house waiting out the storm, Alcee and Calixta’s love for each other start to come back once again. Alcee has always known how beautiful Calixta is and her beauty in the story is symbolized by a lilly, “Her firm, elastic flesh that was knowing for the first time its birthright, was like creamy lily that the sun invites to contribute its breath and perfume to the undying life of the world” (Chopin, 272). Alcee has had a previous love relationship with Calixta, and being alone with her once again is one the ways their love starts to come out again. The comparison between the lily and Calixta is used because “Chopin uses the lily to express Calixta’s beauty” (Baker). A flower is always one the prettiest things in the world we live in today, and when Calixta is compared to a flower, the flower symbolizes how pretty she is. However, the lily that symbolizes Calixta’s beauty is not the only symbol that involves Calixta throughout the story.
The actual storm that is occurring during the story plays an enormous part because it is the main cause for a lot of the actions and events that take place throughout the short story. Kate Chopin uses the storm itself very well to convey her different ideas going on in the story. If it was not for the storm taking place, many of the actions that are being done because of the storm would not have been done. One of the key actions that shape up the entire story is between Calixta and Alcee. The storm is able to symbolize the concept and idea going on between Calixta and Alcee. Kate Chopin uses the storm because “Sexuality is explored in “The Storm” through the tryst enjoyed by Calixta and Alcee and is symbolized by the storm that occurs in the story” (Mile, 291). During the duration of the storm,...
Cited: MLA Format
Baker, Christopher. "Chopin 's The Storm." The Explicator 52.4 (1994): 225+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 5 May 2013.
Berkove, Lawrence I. " 'Acting Like Fools ': The Ill-Fated Romances of 'At the 'Cadian Ball ' and 'The Storm '." Critical Essays on Kate Chopin. Ed. Alice Hall Petry. New York: G. K. Hall & Co., 1996. 184-196. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Joseph Palmisano. Vol. 68. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.
Chopin, Kate. “The Storm” Compact Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. 8th ed. Ed Laurie G. Kriszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth Cenage Learning, 2007. 234-238. Print.
Koloski, Bernard. "Per Seyersted on “the Storm”." Kate Chopin: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996. 145-148. Twayne 's Studies in Short Fiction 65. Twayne 's Authors on GVRL. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.
Milne, Ira Mark. "The Storm." Short Stories for Students. Ed. Katherine Hobbs. Vol. 26. Detroit: Gale, 2008. 286-306. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.
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