Symbolisms in Kate Chopin's "The Storm"
Kate Chopin's "The Storm" is a short story written in 1898 but was not published until 1969. The story explores an excess of turbulent emotions of the protagonists in the backdrop of unexpected storm. Chopin effectively confronts the brewing conflict of the story by her unflinching depiction of the story through symbolisms. The symbolisms most evident in "The Storm" includes: the storm itself, Assumption, a small town in which the protagonists first met and whiteness as mentioned many times in the story.
Chopin opens the first part of the story by using the illustration of the threatening storm with Calixta's husband, Bobinot: "Bobinot, who was accustomed to converse on terms of perfect equality with his little son, called the child's attention to certain somber clouds that were rolling with sinister intention from the west, accompanied by a sullen, threatening roar" (123). The storm is one of the obvious themes of the story. It is involve in practically every element of the plot. The text above describes the impending change of weather that is about to come, foreshadowing the series of events that is about to unravel.
Bobinot then, decides to wait at the general store with their son, Bibi until the storm evens out. This waiting out or avoidance from the storm suggests that he also avoids the storm of passion that his wife had expected of him. Bobinot's less passionate nature becomes more evident on how he is described later in the story: "Then he returned to his perch on the keg and sat stolidly holding the can of shirmps while the storm burst" (123). The text gives an insight on Bobinot's general behavior or nature as an individual describing him as stolid, meaning having or revealing little emotion or sensibility or it could also means not easily aroused or excited.
After this, the readers are introduced to Calixta at their home who is at first "unaware of the storm coming" because she is occupied with sewing and doing other mundane chores (124). The story introduces the female protagonist as a dedicated homemaker sewing furiously and gathering her husband's Sunday clothes put out to dry before huge drops of rain wet them. This behavior potrayed by Calixta in beginning story implies that "her sexuality is repressed by the constraints of her marriage and society's view of women, represented in this passage by the housework" (121).
Chopin efficiently compares the storm brewing in nature with the storm within Calixta as she encounters Alcee in her home alone: "As she stepped outside , Alcee Laballiere rode in at the gate. She had not seen him very often since her marriage, and never alone" (124). The text displays Calixta's surprise reaction upon seeing a past lover right through her door. Out of courtesy, she then let Alcee in her house more so, since the rain is starting to get stronger: "He expressed an intention to remain outside, but it was soon apparent that he might as well have been out in the open: the water beat in upon the boards in driving sheets, and he went inside, closing the door after him" (125). The text describes the growing intensity of the storm. It also foreshadows the growing storm of passion that is building up between Calixta and Alcee.
Chopin's description of the intensity of the storm that is starting to build as the story progress is parallel to the tension raging between Calixta and Alcee: "The playing of the lightning was incessant. A bolt of lighning struck a tall chinaberry tree at the edge of the field" (124). The text describes the violent temperament of nature. This draws Calixta and Felix physically closer together. Calista, being scared of the raging storm is comforted by Alcee: "Alcee clasped her shoulders and looked into her face. The contact of her warm, palpitating body when he had unthinkingly drawn her into his arms, had aroused all the old-time infatuation and desire for her flesh" (125).The text explores the passion...
Cited: Farca, Paula Anca. "Foucault Informs Kate Chopin 's Short Fiction." Academic Exchange Quarterly 11.1 (2007): 120-24. Print.
Manning, S.L. "Kate Chopin Reconsidered: Beyond the Bayou." The Review of English Studies (1995): 433-442. Print.
Kennedy, X. J., and Dana Gioia. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. Print.
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