Essay on Gender and Role of Women in Kate Chopin´s The Storm

Essay on Gender and Role of Women in Kate Chopin´s The Storm

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Many short story writers have written about the gender and role of woman in society. Some of these stories express what Barbara Walter calls, “The Cult of True Womanhood” meaning the separation of both man and woman in social, political and economic spheres. In order to be considered a “true woman” woman were to abide by the set of standards that were given to her. Women were expected to live by the four main principal virtues - piety, purity, submissiveness, and domestication. In Kate Chopin’s short story, “The Storm,” Calixta the main female character breaks away from “The Cult of True Womanhood” when she has a sexual encounter with her past lover Alcée. The storm goes through many twists and turns that tie with their adulterous actions. Although she breaks away from the four main principal virtues, she in the end is considered to be pure innocent of heart because the action in which occurred happened instantly, and as white as she was, she was taken away from her innocence.
Bobinôt is a loving caring husband and father and even through the storm, he takes on the role that was assigned to him at marriage. The story starts off with Bobinôt and Bibi being stuck in the rain at the local store. Bibi, Calixta and Bobinôt’s four-year-old son is concerned for his mother back home, and wonders if whether or not she would be okay. Although the first section of the story is quite short, there are lot of key indicators that express the commitment that Bobinôt has towards his son and wife. Lawrence I. Berkove states that “Bibi symbolizes the marriage and mutual commitment and trust it should imply.” (190). One image of these ideals appears as the end of the first section with the line, “Bibi laid his little hand on his father’s knee and w...

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... stated, “she hastened out to gather them before the rain fell” (176). It is quite clear that she is domesticated, and does not abandon her roles. Although the domain serves as primary sphere to keep woman from the corrupt and sinful world, it does not mean that the home cannot be corrupted by outside forces.
Alcée, a planter and a man of the outer sphere enters Calixta’s domain with good intentions. Alcée, a man with much respect and honor for Calixta, greets her and acknowledges that she is a married woman. He greets her by name and properly asks permission to wait out of the storm on her porch. She properly addresses him as “M’siur Alcée” when she greets him. Alcee, who happened to live nearby, could have ridden on through the storm, but he did not. Instead, as Lawrence I. Berkove claims, Alcee’s “wish to escape a drenching in Calixta’s home is “innocent” (90).

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