Kate Chopin's short story 'The Storm'; describes an encounter of infidelity between two lovers during a brief thunderstorm. The story alludes to the controversial topic of women's sexuality and passion, which during Chopin's time no one spoke about much less wrote about. So controversial was 'The Storm,' ; that it was not published until after her death in eighteen ninety-nine. The story is broken up into five sections, each filled with small clues and hints that reflect her message. In short, Kate Chopin's 'The Storm'; is about a confirmation of feminine sexuality and passion and a rejection of the suppression of it by society. The title of 'The Storm'; gives the reader a peek into the underlying meaning of the story.
It obviously portrays feelings of sexual energy, passion, and explosiveness, but the storm refers to nature, which historically has a feminine association. The storm takes on the personification of a deep, rumbling cloud of feminine sexuality and passion waiting to explode. Throughout the story, the intensity of the storm is symbolic of the intensity of Calixta's passion. At the onset of the story, Chopin subtly exposes the idea that women of the time are expected to repress their feelings of sexuality and passion. The scene is set as Calixta is attending to household chores unaware that a storm is imminent. Chopin writes, 'She sat at a side window sewing furiously on a sewing machine.
She was greatly occupied and did not notice the approaching storm. She unfastened her white sac que at the throat. It began to grow dark, and suddenly realizing the situation she got up hurriedly and went about closing windows and doors.' ; This scene foreshadows a sexual encounter to come, but more importantly tells the reader how unaware Calixta is of her own sexuality and passion. Her sexuality has been repressed by the constraints of her marriage and society's view of women, represented by the housework being done before the storm hits. Chopin alludes to this theme of suppression again as Alcee is invited into Calixta's home. The author writes, 'Come 'long in, M'si eur Alcee.
His voice and her own startled her as if from a trance, and she seized Bobinot's vest. Alcee, mounting to the porch, grabbed the trousers and snatched Bibi's braided jacket that was about to be carried away by a sudden gust of wind.' ; Alcee grabs Bobinot's pants, symbolically subverting the social and martial constraints that control Calixta. Chopin presents many details of Calixta's affirmation of her sexuality and passion. As the storm's intensity increases, it becomes necessary to put something underneath the door to keep the rain out. ''My! what a rain! It's good two years since it rained it rain' like that,' exclaimed Calixta as she rolled up a piece of bagging and Alcee helped her to thrust it beneath the crack.' ; The sexual connotation of 'thrusting it beneath the crack'; is evident, but it is important to notice that Calixta initiates this sexual act, not Alcee. This is a far cry from an ordinary, repressed housewife.
Quite the contrary, Chopin actually presents Calixta as a highly sexual being and is clearly focused on this feminine sexuality. 'Her lips were as red and moist as pomegranate seed,' ; she writes. 'Her white neck, and a glimpse of her full, firm bosom disturbed him powerfully. As she glanced up at him the fear in her liquid blue eyes given place to a drowsy gleam that unconsciously betrayed a sensuous desire.' ; The goddess-like description of Calixta represents a condemnation of society's repressive view of women's sexuality and passion. At the height of their encounter, Chopin says that Calixta 'is knowing for the first time [her] birthright,' ; which represents the birthright of feminine sexuality. Throughout the story, Chopin depicts feminine sexuality in the imagery of the storm and rejects the repressive view by society of women's sexuality and passion.
Curiously, Chopin ends the story by writing, 'So the storm passed and every one was happy.' ; This line is done in a 'tongue and check'; fashion to imply that on the outside, Calixta was satisfied and this encounter was just a passing storm. However, knowing Chopin's true message, one can only feel that a very real sexuality in Calixta will be not limited to a one-time encounter.