In Kate Chopin's short story "The Storm," the narrative
surrounds the brief affair of two individuals, Calixta and Alcee.
Many people don't see the story as a condemnation of
infidelity, but rather as an act of human sexuality. This essay
argues that "The Storm" may be interpreted as a specific act
of sexuality and passion joined with a condemnation of its
repression by society. If one is to attempt to interpret "The
Storm," it becomes necessary to examine the conditions of
The title of "The Storm," with its sexual energy and
passion, is of course critical to any interpretation of the
narrative. The title refers to nature, so the storm can
therefore he seen as symbolic of sexuality and passion. And
the image of the storm will be returned to again and again
throughout the story.
At the beginning of the story Bobinot and his young son,
Bibi decide to wait out a rapidly approaching storm at the
store. Bobinot's wife, Calixta, is home alone, tending to the
household chores. Calixta's is not aware of the storm
approaching, although she is married and has a child, she is
unaware of the sexuality and passion within her.
As Calixta is gathering up the laundry, Alcee Laballiere
enters the yard, seeking shelter from the coming storm. My
first impression of Alcee is that he is pretty well off in the
world. Although I see Bobinot as a simple man. There is a
mutual attraction between Calixta and Alcee, and this
attraction is not new. Calixta has not seen Alcee very often
since her marriage, and never alone. The attraction between
Calixta and Alcee is only briefly explored. With Alcee's arrival
comes the beginning of the rain, and he asks to wait out the
storm on the front gallery.
Calixta is startled from her sudden awareness that she is
still sexually attracted to Alcee, even though both are married.
The storm increases quickly and drives Alcee inside.
Calixta's appearance is described as "she is a little fuller of
figure than five years before she married; but she had not lost
nothing of her vivacity."
The storm outside continues to increase, reflecting the
sexual tension inside. Calixta is becoming as unsettled as the
elements outside, the passion of the storm echoing her inner
emotions. Calixta and Alcee move to a window to watch the
storm, and when lightning strikes nearby, Calixta staggers
backward into Alcee's arms, and for a moment he draws her
"close and Spasmodically to him."
I don't think Alcee sensed the passion that Calixta feels
in the beginning of the story. "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." Calixta and Alcee embrace, giving into the storm
of passion that is now present in both of them. Calixta and
Alcee cast aside the constraints of society and the boundaries
of their respective marriages. Neither has found passion of
this depth in their respective marriages. Then the storm
passes and Alcee leaves.
In the end of the story Calixta's passion is seen to be
natural, experienced without guilt or shame. Bobinot and Bibi
returned home after the storm, and brought his wife (Calixta)
some shrimp. Calixta greeted them with nothing but
happiness and satisfaction of their safe return. For Calixta
the story ends with her renewal of her marital duties, and is
now aware of her natural, passionate, sexual nature. Alcee
like Calixta, is newly aware of the depths of the passion within
himself, and is not satisfied within the boundaries of his
marriage. And so the storm passed and everyone was
The story presented sexuality through the imagery of the
storm. Calixta was unaware of the sexuality within herself,
and it is only by putting aside her marriage, was she able to
know her true sexuality. One cannot assume that a brief and
limited awakening that passes like a storm will be enough to
make one happy, sexually, the storm will eventually return
The Storm is interpreted as a specific act of
sexuality and passion. The Storm is not only an act
of nature, but of passion inside both Calixta and
Alcee. The storm comes along with the arrival of
Alcee, and leaves as he leaves Calixta.
I. The way of nature and human emotions.
A. Calixta's emotions are mixed up when Alcee
arrives in the story.
B. Calixta remembers forgotten feelings toward
II. The storm gets more vigorous.
A. The storm becomes more violent as Calixta
feels the attraction for Alcee.
B. Alcee draws Calixta close to him.
III. Alcee unleashes his feelings for Calixta.
A. The storm reveals itself as Calixta and Alcee
are sexually drawn together.
B. Alcee and Calixta see a different side of
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