Romantic Love and Morality in “The Storm”
The primary theme that is conveyed by Kate Chopin in “The Storm” is romantic love, or the sexual attraction that is present between two significant characters in the short story. Chopin carries out her message on independence and freedom, particularly on the sexual aspect of a woman’s life, through the use of various techniques such as symbolization, a unique tone, an allegory, metaphors, and similes.
The most significant method Chopin utilizes to support her theme on independence over sexuality is symbolization. The fundamental symbol used in “The Storm” is the storm itself; it provides both Calixta and Alce the opportunity to engage in their short period of sexual time with each other. In other words, the storm symbolizes the freedom both of the characters have before they have to continue their ordinary, normal lives back again, or before the storm goes away. In contrast to most pieces of literature in which the rain symbolizes the washing away of sins, the rain in “The Storm” introduces the sin of adultery and immoral sexual desire. Overall, the storm represents the freedom both Calixta and Alce have to engage in adultery and romance while keeping it secretive. Another crucial symbol that has a meaning contradictive to its classical meaning is the whiteness used to describe multiple aspects during the situation between Calixta and Alce. The connotation used in this specific story is an inversion because whiteness is usually used to symbolize purity, not an impure action, such as adultery. In the midst of the sexual tension between the two, Kate Chopin uses the color white to describe several features of Calixta such as, “Her white neck”, “white throat and whiter breasts”, and “her passion…like a white flame”. Chopin does so in order to oppose the idea of adultery as an immoral idea. Although most of the symbols are included to show the short-term sexual relationship between Calixta and Alce, there is also a significant symbol to show the true, romantic, and long-term relationship between Bobint and Calixta: the can of shrimps. In the beginning, Chopin includes, “Bobint arose and going across to the counter purchased a can of shrimps…and sat stolidly holding the can of shrimps while the storm burst” to show that the can of shrimps represents the love between Bobint and Calixta and how he holds on to that love throughout the entire story, even when the storm is at its worst, or Calixta is engaging in adultery with Alce.
Another important aspect of the story that supports the idea of adultery being a moral action is the speaker’s encouraging tone in the story. By using textual evidence from “The Storm”, such as “He turned and smiled at her with a beaming face; and she lifted her pretty chin in the air and laughed aloud”, it is apparent that Kate Chopin is accepting and open-minded of the idea of having the freedom from engaging in secretive adultery. The fact that she concludes the story with both Calixta and Alce not regretting what happened between them during the storm strongly supports her perspective on what is moral and what is not.
Although the entire story consists of merely one allegory, the reference of Assumption has a very profound and significant meaning behind it. In the story, Assumption is the place in which Calixta and Alce had met before in which Alce “had kissed her and kissed and kissed her” but never fully experienced the sexual tension due to Calixta’s “immaculate” state. The place’s name itself, “Assumption”, prevented her from engaging in sexual intercourse because it is based off of the Assumption of Mary, which is Virgin Mary’s climb to heaven after her death. Since Virgin Mary’s is religiously associated with virginity or avoiding any sexual intercourse, Assumption was not the appropriate place for Calixta and Alce to be involved in sexual intercourse with each other. Additionally, Kate Chopin includes multiple metaphors and similes to further develop her perspective on the theme of sexual love. For example, her mouth is compared to “a fountain of delight”. This is used to show the positive feelings, especially exhilaration, Alce gets from kissing Calixta. After their sexual together finally came to an end, Chopin commenced to describe the world as “a palace of gems”. She does this to describe the environment filled with positive feelings, which ultimately gives a happy ending. Lastly, Chopin includes a very significant simile “her lips were as red and moist as pomegranate seed” to represent the color of love and the passion and affection between Calixta and Alce.
In conclusion, Chopin utilizes a variety of techniques, such as symbolization, an encouraging tone, an allegory, metaphors, and similes, multiple times throughout the story to convey her perspective on the morality of adulterous, sexual love and successfully does so.
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The primary theme that is conveyed by Kate Chopin in “The Storm” is romantic love, or the sexual attraction that is present between two significant characters in the short story. […]