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In “The Storm,” Kate Chopin uses the characters Calixta and Alcee to break away from the expectations of the cliché love represented in most stories or films. By encountering in an adulterous affair, their relationship is symbolized by the storm throughout the story which would be described as destructive, painful and morally corrupt. Chopin’s perspective engages her readers with an image of an imperfect relationship that surprisingly influences each other’s marriages for the better. The specific theme of love used throughout this short story is romantic love. This story discusses the passionate link between Calixta and Alcee.
Throughout the story, “The Storm”, there is a metaphoric meaning relating to the vigorous storm and Calixta and Alcee’s affair. The symbolic meaning of the storm is quite clear on who it symbolizes, in this case being Calixta and Alcee. The intensity of the storm had sparked an old flame between the two, resulting in them to act on it. The quote “…when he possessed her, they seemed to swoon together at the very borderland of life’s mystery” discusses their sexual relations that occurred that night (Chopin 2). The sexual desire represented from this quote and the story itself can be symbolized by the storm since it abruptly struck the two and reminded them of the lack of desire in their current marriages. Even though Bobinot is Calixta’s husband, she somehow feels a lack of passion in their relationship and seeks it from Alcee, thus leading to the affair. Calixta was always an efficient housewife to Bobinot, but she was never truly able to simultaneously be a passionate partner to her husband due to the society in that time period. At that time women with such qualities were unable to exist. Since Calixta had to portray herself as a pure, apathetic woman of the house, she was unable to truly connect her feelings with her husband. This had allowed her to be easily driven to engage in sexual relations with Alcee, and release some of her inner frustrations along with fulfilled her lack of desire. Alike to the storm, the upbringing of this affair could cause chaos and destruction to each other’s families. The fallout would bring about broken homes and relationships that could be unrepairable. Fortunately, they both realized what would result from their actions and decided to end it.
Calixta and Alcee both knew it was only temporary, alike to the storm itself, and did not want things to get out of control before it was too late. It was said in the story that “the rain was over, and the sun was turning the glistening green world into a palace of gems”, thus referring that although they seemed as happy as they could be in their intimate moment, they knew life would be even better at the end (Chopin 2). It seems as if the significance of this quote allows the readers to believe that Calixta and Alcee engaging in this affair, has struck some more passion into their own relationships with their spouses. Even though they both cheated, it resulted in them having a better connection with their families, and a stronger appreciation for the people they love. The engagement of Calixta and Alcee went much deeper than shown, signifying that their happiness had resulted from the intimacy they shared while the storm was occurring (St. Rosemary Institution 5).
The storm is a very effective setting in this story and is quite symbolic for the affair represented. It depicted the rebirth of love shared between two, to describing the companionship and intimacy before swiftly ending the affair for good. It is the illustration of the storm that builds the intensity and image of the connection between Alcee and Calixta. In this story, there were possible threats to both of their relationships. They both had the potential of ruining their marriages and the relationships with their families if they were to continue this affair, but somehow the brief affair ended up strengthening their marriages. This specific element of the story supports the fact that even when in an imperfect relationship, happiness, or passion can still be found or developed. For instance, if Bobinot had come home to find Calixta and Alcee engaging in sexual activities, their marriage would have crumbled along with Alcee and Clarissa’s marriage. Chopin suggests that their love affair would be fierce, but somehow would result in a relieving and joyous feeling between both Calixta and Alcee.
At the end of the story, the two of them did not feel guilty but rather free from frustration. Alcee had even written a loving and tender letter to his wife that night and put his family’s needs before his own. He was willing to bear the separation a while longer, as long as it benefited his wife and children’s health and pleasure. Not all bad decisions end the way they would seem. A small mistake may even be able to open people’s eyes and allow them to realize all the good they have been blessed with in their life. This story is a great example of how something so impure and sinful can impact someone’s life for the better, even if it could have resulted in a terrible storm.
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