Marriage is a commitment two spouses make to promise to stay loyal only to each other. But with time, one’s spark for another will start to decline and perish. In Kate Chopin’s short story, “The Storm”, she puts her characters in a scenario where they are forced to take shelter in a safe place and stay until the storm passes. One of the characters, Calixta, is stuck at home while her husband, Bobino, and her son, Bibi, are trapped in a store.
While at home, Calixta gets a surprise visit from her former lover Alcee and makes love throughout the stormy night. Through the use of imagery and symbolism, Kate Chopin expresses that even though committing adultery is morally wrong, it is a way to re-establish a falling marriage.
As one goes through hardships in their marriage, they must seek a solution that would make both parties contempt. In “The Storm” all the characters are unable to go on with their daily lives because of the storm approaching them.
As the storm approaches Calixta’s house, she and Alcee are committing adultery to satisfy their needs. The author uses the storm as a symbol of adultery because just like a storm, the act of adultery Calixta and Alcee committed happened naturally. Because the storm traps Bobinot and Bibi in a store, this allows Calixta to let her mind go of her family and focus on herself. As the storm approaches her house and is about to trap her there alone, her former ex-lover comes out of the blue and asks her for shelter.
“As she leaves her husband’s clothes outside to dry, she sees her old lover ride by, “May I come and wait on your gallery till the storm is over, Calixta?” (Alcee) asked. “Come long in, M‟sieur Alcée.” (Chopin 2) As a housekeeper, Calixta seems like she doesn’t do much other than taking care of her husband and child. She stays at home and lives a pretty plain life. So when Alcee shows up on her porch, she doesn’t act surprised or doesn’t even try to reject shelter for Alcee, instead, she welcomes him in because she knows this is an opportunity she will not come across for a long while. By inviting him inside, Calixta knows the risks of inviting an old lover into her empty home. She may have done this because she feels alone and that her love life with her husband may have been diminishing.
Over time, one’s marriage will eventually become dull and lead them to make consequential decisions. As the storm passes over Calixta’s house, Calixta and Alcee are having small talk which leads to Alcee studying her face up close. “As she glanced up at him the fear in her liquid blue eyes had given place to a drowsy gleam that unconsciously betrayed a sensuous desire. He looked down into her eyes and there was nothing for him to do but to gather her lips in a kiss.” (Chopin 4) As one can imagine the lustful look on Calixta’s face, one can understand that Calixta has been waiting for Alcee or has been waiting for such an intimate moment. It seems that her husband hasn’t been able to satisfy her desires and that she is not fully happy with her marriage. This leads her to invite Alcee over without hesitation and maybe have a chance to fulfill her happiness with him. So when Alcee brings up a memory of the two, Calixta gives in and starts having sex with Alcee. “The generous abundance of her passion, without guile or trickery, was like a white flame which penetrated and found response in depths of his sensuous nature that had never yet been reached. (Choplin 4)” The author uses imagery again to help describe the passion and the sexual desire Calixta has been hiding off. She may not have known it either, but from visualizing her feelings one can understand that she was really into the sex and that it may seem she hasn’t had intimate sex for a while. Though she may come off as a whore for committing adultery with her ex-lover, one must understand that she lives a life of a housekeeper and that because she has a child, it is her job as the mom to have him as a priority in her life. This leads to her having a mundane life and probably not the life she was looking forward to when she was with Alcee five years prior. So when the storm approaches, it allows her to be free from all her burdens of being a housewife and lets her acquire the desire she needs.
After the night of committing adultery, one must now realize the outcome of this situation and make the best out of it. For Calixta and Alcee, the night after making intense love was over for them, and was time to face reality. The storm passes over just as their sexual desires for each other are over. “The rain was over, and the sun was turning the glistening green world into a palace of gems. Calixta, in the gallery, watched Alcée ride away. He turned and smiled at her with a beaming face, and she lifted her pretty chin in the air and laughed aloud.” (Chopin 5) Both of them are happy in a way that both have satisfied each other. They don’t show any sort of regret nor do they pretend like it didn’t happen. They just smile at each other and say their gBecauseoodbyes. This shows that as much as Calixta may love her husband, there are some things he cannot satisfy her with and she must find a way to meet her desires. After the night of the storm, Bobinot and Bibi arrive home after Alcee has left. They don’t suspect anything and are just glad to see Calixta. Calixta on the other hand is just happy that her husband and son arrived safely, but doesn’t show any sort of intimate action with her husband except for kissing him on the cheek for buying shrimp. Though throughout her lustful night she once didn’t think about the two of them and focused only on her desires. “So the storm passed and everyone was happy.” (Chopin 7) Because Bobinot doesn’t know about Alcee, he is just happy to be with his family once again after the storm. Calixta is also happy because she just had a win-win scenario. She may have committed adultery, but she now feels that her desires are gone and now she can fully focus on her family. Though one may never know if Bobinot will find out about the sexual encounter Calixta had, the family is happy once again and forgets about the storm that occurred the night before.
Throughout her story, Kate Chopin writes in a pensive tone of voice due to the fact as readers, one can feel the thoughts of Calixta and understand what she is going through while meeting with Alcee. The marriage between Calixta and Bobinot is shown to be a less intimate relationship compared to most marriages. For example, a wife that truly loves her husband would never let an ex-lover into her home. But the fact that Calixta did invite Alcee over, shows that she truly doesn’t love Bobinot at the moment and is seeking a solution to seek her sexual desires so she doesn’t have to rely on Bobinot for it. In the end, no one is caught red-handed and life continues for Calixta as the storm passes away.