The setting of “The Storm” is a small town, wherein Calixta, a good, virtuous wife, is caught in a violent storm that keeps her inside and away from her husband. Because of the violent, primal nature of the storm that surrounds her house, Calixta begins to come out of her shell and welcome the beauty and sensuality that has been missing for so long from her life. The storm becomes a metaphor for her affair, and the effect it has on her marriage (the town). In this essay, the connection between the storm and the events of the Kate Chopin short story will be explored.
Calixta is a worrisome woman, who has been caught in a loveless marriage for years. While she loves the man, she longs for the kind of sensual excitement she used to have, and the animal magnetism that attracted her to him in the first place. The storm hits, and she takes in a man named Alcee, a former lover who charms his way into her home. The neverending rain seems to indicate the inevitability of the events that would occur between Calixta and Alcee. Though she is filled with worry about her family, who are still outside in the storm, the dangerous thunderbolts and intense rain causes Alcee to remind her about how intently they used to feel for each other. They make love in that house, and the storm stops pretty much at the same time they finish having sex. With that storm gone, Alcee withdraws and leaves just as quickly as he came.
The storm damages the town immensely, indicating the intensity and forcefulness of her encounter with Alcee – “The rain beat upon the low, shingled roof with a force and clatter that threatened to break an entrance and deluge them there.” The use of this intense language is not unlike words used to describe a particularly rough sexual experience; the deluge Calixta threatened to feel was lust for Alcee, and a longing for being a pretty, sexually desirable young woman again.
Even the force of the storm seems to pale in comparison to their lovemaking – “They did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as she lay in his arms.”The intensity of the storm is meant to be minimal next to the sheer need and fulfillment Calixta gets out of making love to Alcee; the parallels between the force of nature and the intensity of her sex with a former flame are apparent. Their lovemaking even extends somewhat past the apex of the storm – “The growl of the thunder was distant and passing away. The rain beat softly upon the shingles, inviting them to drowsiness and sleep. But they dared not yield.”
Ward, Candace, and Kate Chopin. “The Storm.” Great short stories by American women . Dover ed. New York: Dover Publications, 1996. 89. Print.