Analysis of Atmosphere in Kate Chopin's The Storm

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Analysis of Atmosphere in "The Storm"

Merriam Webster dictionary defines atmosphere as a) "the whole mass of air surrounding the earth" and b) "the overall aesthetic effect of a work of art." Kate Chopin integrates these two definitions together effortlessly in her short story "The Storm." The meteorological atmosphere parallels the literary atmosphere with the building tension, the culmination, and the aftermath.

As the thunderstorm and the story begin, the reader can almost feel the tension in the air. Calixta is at home by herself, tending to her sewing, while her husband Bobinôt and her son Bibi wait out the storm in the shelter of the grocery store. Calixta "does not notice the approaching storm" (108) until the sky becomes threatening, at which point she begins to hastily prepare. As she quickly gathers in the laundry, a former love by the name of Alcée Laballiére asks if he may take shelter in her house until the storm passes. She invites him in, and in doing so her voice "[startles] her as if from a trance" (108). Once inside, Calixta demonstrates her anxiet...

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