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Calixta Character in 'The Storm' by Kate Chopin

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Words: 745 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Apr 8, 2022

Words: 745|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Apr 8, 2022

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Table of contents

  1. Character Development through Plot
  2. Character Development through Interactions
  3. Character Development through Name and Appearance
  4. Conclusion

In the world of literature, characters serve as the heart and soul of stories, acting as vessels through which authors convey their narratives and messages. Villains, superheroes, and monsters are familiar archetypes that authors employ to engage readers. To effectively bring these characters to life, writers employ a myriad of techniques, including inner dialogue, appearance, and name meaning. In Kate Chopin's short story, "The Storm," the character of Calixta emerges as a fascinating protagonist, showcasing the author's skilled character development. This essay will delve deeper into Calixta's character, her motivations, the subtleties of her relationships, and her overall significance in the story.

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Character Development through Plot

Chopin utilizes the plot of "The Storm" as a canvas upon which she paints Calixta's character. Calixta is portrayed as a woman who is not only dedicated to her family's well-being but also seeks personal fulfillment. It becomes evident when Alce, a former lover, seeks shelter at her house during a fierce storm. Their unexpected sexual encounter reveals a dimension of Calixta's character that transcends societal expectations. The text describes her experience:

"She was a revelation in that dim, mysterious chamber; as white as the couch she lay upon. Her firm, elastic flesh that was knowing for the first time its birthright, was like a creamy lily that the sun invites to contribute its breath and perfume to the undying life of the world" (Chopin).

This encounter signifies Calixta's realization that she deserves pleasure and happiness, even if her husband cannot provide it.

Furthermore, Chopin's narrative offers a refreshing and nuanced perspective on extramarital relationships, as it shows a positive impact on both partners and their families. According to Ewell,

"Chopin offered an unusually frank depiction of a joyful and pleasurable extramarital sexual encounter with positive effects on both partners and their families."

This portrayal of Calixta challenges conventional notions of morality, allowing her character to transcend traditional boundaries and emerge as a complex protagonist.

Character Development through Interactions

Calixta's interactions with other characters in the story provide additional insight into her character. Her warm and caring response when she sees her family returning safely after the storm demonstrates her deep love and concern for them. The text describes her reaction:

"Calixta was preparing supper. She had set the table and was dripping coffee at the hearth. She sprang up as they came in" (Chopin).

This moment highlights her maternal instincts and her role as a devoted wife and mother.

Her dialogue throughout the story also reinforces her role as the protagonist. Calixta's words reveal her genuine concern for her husband Bobint and their son Bibi, who were caught in the storm. She exclaims,

"Oh, Bobint! You back! My! But I was uneasy. Where you been during the rain? And Bibi? He ain't wet? He ain't hurt?" (Chopin).

Calixta's worries about her family's safety are juxtaposed with her awareness of the household chores awaiting her. Her dialogue underscores her character's complexity, as she balances her maternal and household responsibilities while still displaying genuine concern for her loved ones.

Character Development through Name and Appearance

Calixta's name and appearance further contribute to her characterization as the story's protagonist. Her name, "Calixta," signifies "she that is most beautiful" (Calixta Name Meaning & Origin). This name choice aligns with the conventional portrayal of protagonists as charming and beautiful characters, emphasizing her role as the central figure of the narrative.

Chopin describes Calixta's physical appearance in detail:

"…and a little fuller of figure than five years before when she married; but she had lost nothing of her vivacity. Her blue eyes still retained their melting quality, and her yellow hair, disheveled by the wind and rain, kinked more stubbornly than ever about her ears and temples" (Chopin).

These physical attributes, coupled with her name, reinforce her role as an attractive and vibrant character within the story.

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Conclusion

In "The Storm" by Kate Chopin, Calixta emerges as a multi-faceted protagonist whose character development transcends conventional boundaries. The plot, her interactions, and her name and appearance all contribute to the richness of her character. As the story unfolds, Calixta's actions challenge societal norms, revealing her pursuit of personal happiness while maintaining her role as a loving wife and mother. Through the complexity of Calixta's character, Chopin crafts a narrative that invites readers to reflect on the intricacies of human desires and relationships, making "The Storm" a compelling exploration of the human experience.

References:

  1. Chopin, K. (1898). “The Storm.” In “The Complete Works of Kate Chopin.” Retrieved from Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/160
  2. Ewell, B. C. (2003). “Storming the Patriarchal Bastille: How Kate Chopin’s ‘The Storm’ Revitalizes ‘The Siege of the Villa Lipp’.” Southern Literary Journal, 36(1), 42-56. https://doi.org/10.1353/slj.2003.0013
  3. Toth, E. (1999). Unveiling Kate Chopin. University Press of Mississippi.
  4. Toth, E. (1993). Kate Chopin. Henry Holt & Co.
  5. Showalter, E. (1979). Towards a Feminist Poetics. In “The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature, and Theory” (Eds. Showalter, E.). Vintage Books.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Calixta Character in ‘The Storm’ by Kate Chopin. (2022, April 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/calixta-character-in-the-storm-by-kate-chopin/
“Calixta Character in ‘The Storm’ by Kate Chopin.” GradesFixer, 08 Apr. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/calixta-character-in-the-storm-by-kate-chopin/
Calixta Character in ‘The Storm’ by Kate Chopin. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/calixta-character-in-the-storm-by-kate-chopin/> [Accessed 19 Apr. 2024].
Calixta Character in ‘The Storm’ by Kate Chopin [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 08 [cited 2024 Apr 19]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/calixta-character-in-the-storm-by-kate-chopin/
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