The Storm by Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin was an American writer of the 19th century. She was famous as an author of short stories and novels. “The Storm” is one of her works. It’s a short-story that shows the readers a woman’s point of view on marriage and adultery, women’s sexuality and passion. It’s a narration about one day of a married woman Calixta who stays at home alone while her husband and son are away at the store. A heavy storm delays them there. By accident Calixta’s old friend Alcee rides along her house just when it’s growing darker and is invited into the house to hide from the coming storm. The man and the woman are in the sitting-room, they recollect the passion they once had to each other. They are unable to comfort these reminisces, the spark of their passion grows as the storm increases in intensity and their sexual encounter ends at the time the rain stops. Calixta’s lover leaves away and her husband and son return. They are a loving family again. Alcee’s wife Clarisse gets a tender letter from her husband who encourages her to spend more time in Biloxi. Though she is devoted to her husband she is happy to be free for a while and to remember the time she was a maiden. Thus, the storm in the story is associated with the passion that brews between the lovers. The description of the nature is a symbol of how marriage relationships couples have change after the affair: “The rain was over; and the sun was turning the glistening green world into a palace of gems”. In that way, the affair helps Calixta to look at her marriage newly and to see its beauty by remembering what a sexual person she was once. The story ends with the words: “So the storm passed and every one was happy”. However, her marriage may lose the beauty of “the palace of gems” with time as like the nature after rain glistens until it dries up.

“The Storm” can be considered to be a story of real life. Moreover, some aspects of it can be related to the author’s life. That is it can be analyzed according to the Biographical Criticism approach. It’s known that Kate Chopin was a strong woman with an individual identity and sense of self who never doubted women’s ability to be strong and to live freely within the constrains the world offered. There was an accepted norm of a repressed and confined woman in marriage, where only a man could express sexual desires. Calixta was shown by Kate Chopin as one who was not afraid to express her human sexuality.  The biographical approach based on relating the author’s life and thoughts to her work allows to understand the elements within the story better.

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