Analysis on Kate Chopin’s “The Storm”
At random times, some people would throw around the phrase ‘water has memories’ perhaps with the goal of either to elicit humor or deep thinking. In various psychological studies, water is associated with the emotions in the human subconscious. In literature, water also plays a significant role in figurative language, whereby it is associated with people’s feelings (Cherry, 2020). In Kate Chopin’s short story,” The Storm”, there are many events which taken place under the heavy rainfall. This brings specific attention to the essence of rain water in the unfolding of the events in the story. As story elevated towards its climax, there are high-running emotions due to attraction and sexual tension between Calixta and Alcee Laballiere. The aim of this essay is to discuss how the short but heavy rain in Kate Chopin’s “The Storm” is associated with the emotional atmosphere as events kept unfolding.
The abrupt manner in which the storm began was a premonition of something unexpected to happen. At the beginning of the story, Bobinot directs Bibi’s attention towards “certain sombre clouds which were rolling with sinister intention.” This reflects how the beginning of the storm had some edgy feeling as it came abruptly while Bibi and Bobinot were still at Friedheimer’s store. If they knew that there was an impending storm, it can be safely assumed that they would have left the store earlier enough to head home. Instead, Bobinot and Bibi end up sitting on empty kegs as they wait for the storm to pass. Coincidentally, back at home, a coincidence occurs. Calixta encounters Alcee at the gate, and they had not seen each other for a long time, since before Calixta got married. According to the description, as creatively pieced together in the whole story by Chopin, Calixta and Alcee had shared a period of intimate affection towards each other before Calixta got married. Just as Bibi and Bobinot were oblivious about the beginning of the rain, they were oblivious about Calixta meeting Alcee.
The heavy downpour was representative of the latent sense of attraction that existed between Calixta and Alcee. As soon as Calixta caught sight of Alcee riding in through the gate, “the big rain drops began to fall.” The big rain drops starting to fall is representative of the awakening of the long-buried romance that exists between Calixta and Alcee. Chopin further describes that “His voice and her own startled her as if from a trance,” which illustrates the degree to which Calixta was beginning to get swayed by Alcee’s mere presence (Chopin , 1898). This attraction begins with a little uneasiness, whereby, even though it is raining, Alcee shows intention to remain outside even after Calixta allows him to get in. As soon as Alcee gets I and closes the door behind him, something had to be placed beneath the door for the purpose of keeping water out. This act of trying to use an object to keep the water out relates to Alcee’s and Calixta effort to remain calm, due to the rush in emotions they experienced at that moment. Additionally, “the rain beat upon the low, shingled roof with a force and clatter that threatened to break an entrance and deluge them” while they were in the house, is also representative of the emotional tension that was overcoming both characters as they settle in the house.
The rain “obscuring the view of the far-off cabins” illustrated the shift in emotional focus from Calixta towards Bibi and Bobinot, to Calixta and Alcee. At this point, Calixta expressed worries about Bibi and Bobinot being outside in the storm. She imagines that they left Friedheimer’s and Alcee tries to comfort her that if they were sensible enough, they would not be out in the storm. The mist hinders visibility of the woods and cabins which sit in a distance. This is the point where Calixta’s attention shifts from Bibi and Bobinot and concentrates on the events in the house as Alcee approaches her. Moreover, at this moment, there is an incessant playing of lightning which signifies the spark of intimacy engulfing them. Calixta falls into Alcee’s arms and she gives him her complete attention, while forgetting her worries. However, the only worries which Calixta shows at this time is that the house would be struck by lightning. As Calixta and Alcee get more comfortable in an intimate posture, they kiss and share an old memory about “Assumption.” Eventually, Calixta is carried away with Alcee’s embrace and this is seen where Chopin writes “they did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as she lay in his arms.”
The overall goal of the storm was to remove emotional clutter among the characters and result in happiness. While in Alcee’s arms, Calixta laughed passionately and she forgets about her worries of the storm that is outside. After their intimate time together, “the rain beat softly upon the shingles, inviting them to drowsiness and sleep.” This signifies the peace which they both had secured following their emotional reconnection. Although, they did not sleep after the rain because Bibi and Bobinot would arrive soon. As soon as Bibi and Bobinot arrive, Calixta welcomed them with an air of satisfaction. Calixta clasps Bibi and kisses him, and she also kisses Bobinot on the cheeks.Also, after the storm, Alcee writes to his wife, Clarisse letting her know that she would remain there for an extra month. Alcee did so because he felt that he was getting along well. Clarisse was also joyed to received Alcee’s letter because she would spend some time away from her marriage, a time when she can revisit the “pleasant liberty of her maiden days.”
To conclude, the short rain in Kate Chopin’s “The Storm” is associated with the emotional atmosphere as the events unfold in the story. The beginning of the storm in its abrupt form was significant of the unexpected meeting of Alcee and Calixta. The heavy downpour represented the latent sense of attraction which is present between Calixta and Alcee. Also, the overall significance of the storm is to bring about happiness to every character in the story