The Power of Fear Illustrated in "The Storm"

935 Words4 Pages
Fear. By definition it is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain, whether the threat is real or imaginary. Fear has power, but only when the person feeling it gives it power. In “The Storm” Janet gives power to her fear, and by doing so, fear masks what Janet should truly be afraid of, leading to the development of her character, the conflicts within her mind, and the overall theme of the short story.

Throughout the story, Janet is depicted as a person with a “pale face with a blunt nose, slender with a childlike figure, and plain.” Because of this characterization it is not difficult to understand her mentality for protection. Janet is insecure about her looks and she constantly questions her actions, even commenting on the “fact that she had married at all seemed a miracle to her.” The fear that overtakes her during the story, however, contributes to the “survivor” personality she begins to obtain. During the storm Janet is alone and she has to do things by herself. She has to go into a dark basement to get fire wood, decide what is best for her “family” when she finds a dead body in her trunk, and finally escape the clutches of a seemingly psychotic husband. Janet goes through experiences in this story dealing with the development of a “grown-up” personality and the realization that the only person you can truly trust is yourself. The fear that she felt towards the storm did not even come close the true fear that grasped her when she realized that her husband was a murderer. In the end Janet had to shed her childlike personality, that craved protection, to save herself from a truly unimaginable fear.

As a human race we always seem to argue with ourselves, battling between one choice and th...

... middle of paper ...

.... The way she is constantly battling herself over every little thought that pops into her head gives more and more power to her fear. The fear she feels for herself and for saving Ben all lead to the conclusion that Janet should not have been so afraid of her instincts and more afraid of the truth she was conveying to herself without knowing it. Fear is powerful and in Janet’s case, her fear masked the reality that her husband was a deranged killer.

Fear is omnipotent. We give power to fear by allowing it to control our thoughts and actions. People act irrationally when intimidated by fear, just as Janet did. Janet’s character development and inner conflict are all masked by fear which contributes wholly to the theme. To give power to fear is to make it stronger, and in the end it is evident that what we should fear the most is right in front of our eyes.

More about The Power of Fear Illustrated in "The Storm"

Open Document