The Importance of Dialect and Names in Kate Chopin's The Storm
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The Importance of Dialect and Names in The Storm
Kate Chopin is able to put life into her characters in her short story The Storm because she has lived a life similar to that of the people in it. She was raised by her French Creole mother, which explains her ties to Creole in her story. She married a wealth New Orleans cotton broker and in 1888 he died. She was left with no money and six children so she turned to writing as a means to raise them. The characters in her story depict life in the Cajun area of America and it shows in the nature of their ways. She does this by giving them real characteristics that can make them seem more real. Among these characteristics are their names and their dialect.
Chopin's use of Creole names in her story allows the reader to get a glimpse into the life of those living in French Creole areas. Names such as Bibi and Bobinot aren t common names to most living in other parts of the country. Because of this, readers are given a chance to read the story believing the characters to be real. Had their names been common such at John or Eric, the story would become unreal in the sense that it would be difficult for Chopin to make the reader believe that the story takes place in a Cajun-like surrounding.
Furthermore, other names in the story serve as a piece of the story setting as well. Bibi s wife Calixta is a good example of this as is Calixta s man friend Alcee Laballiere. Their names alone give you a sense that the story isn t set in just any area. Though Chopin doesn t ever say where the setting of the story is, but something insignificant like the names can be used to help the reader make his or her own assumptions. I got the sense that it was set in a Cajun area of the United States due to the French names. Bobinot and Laballiere are unmistakably French in nature and due to the fact that Cajun areas are heavily influenced by French, Chopin made a setting without ever having to actually say it.
Another way Chopin sets the mood of the story and makes it feel more believable is by giving her characters a Cajun slang in their conversations.