The Importance of Weather in Kate Chopin's The Storm

The Importance of Weather in Kate Chopin's The Storm

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The Importance of Weather in The Storm


 The Storm, by Kate Chapin, is a short story about two people that have and affair during a storm.  Basically, it’s like this.  The story involves two families, that of Bobinot, Calixta, and Bibi, and Alcee, Clarisse, and their babies.  Calixta is at her house separated from her family due to the storm.  Alcee is separated from his family because they are visiting another town.  The storm brings Calixta and Alcee together and they have an affair.  It s set in a small town in the late 1800s.  A storm can mean many things, both good and bad, and it is important to the story both symbolically and directly.


    The storm acts as a catalyst in the story as it causes the events to unfold as they do.  The first real direct effect the storm has in the story is that it is what causes Bobinot and Bibi to stay at the local store to take shelter.  This of course leaves Calixta home alone.  Alcee, we are lead to believe, was out riding his horse somewhere near Calixta s house when the storm started.  This causes him to take shelter there.


    Before Calixta got married five years earlier, the two had romantic feelings toward each other.  They rarely saw each other after that, and this what the first time since then that they had been alone together.  Because of the awkward feelings he had, Alcee  expressed an intention to remain outside (666).  This is where the storm, because it is a rather big storm, forces him to go inside.  Once inside it seems harmless conversation would be all that took place.  But alas, the storm once again comes into play.  While Calixta, worried about her family, it looking out the window the storm sends down a huge lightning bolt into a tree nearby.  This causes her to jump and for Alcee to instinctively grab her in his arms.  The storm now comes into play one last time.  As Calixta is nervously pacing around the house (because of the storm), Alcee grabs her shoulders in an attempt to calm her down.  At this point their old feelings become too overwhelming resulting in an affair.  When the storm ends, it symbolizes the end of the affair.  We are never told what Chapin meant by the title  The Storm.

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   The most obvious is that it is referring to the actual, physical storm.  But she could have intended it to represent the symbolic storm that is taking place in the characters.  The physical storm is used in the beginning to foreshadow the events that follow.  Bobinot points out  certain somber clouds that were rolling with sinister intention from the west (665).  The storm can also be thought to represent how an affair can affect a marriage.  A storm can mean change, and an affair will obviously change a marriage.  When the author describes the affair she says,  they did not head the crashing torrents  which symbolizes that they did not care about the affects their affair would have.  Storms are either good or bad.  It depends on how, when, and by whom it is viewed.


    I have liked storms since I was a little kid.  This is why I had to find something good about it!  When rain comes in the middle of a drought it s a good thing.  Just the same as several good things can be found in the story that are brought about by the storm.  The first and most obvious good this brings is the physical pleasure for Alcee and Calixta.  Just like the rain brings life in a drought, the affair has brought life for their sex lives, which were in a kind of drought.  It ended up doing some good for their families too.  Bobinot did not get in trouble for coming home dirty and they had a nice dinner that night.  As for Clarisse, Alcee was in a good mood and wrote her a nice letter inviting her to stay for another month in the city, that their happiness comes first.  Yeah right!  The most important thing to remember is that all of these good things are just temporary.  Because the story ends with  so the storm passed and every one was happy (669), we do not see the bad parts of the storm.


    Unlike myself, many people view storms as generally bad.  Just by thinking about things like tornados, floods, ice storms, etc., you quickly get an idea of the destructive power of storms.  The same thing can be applied in this story.  Now just because I like storms does not mean I approve of their actions in any way.  Although I can understand why it happened, it was still wrong.  First and foremost, it is a sin to commit adultery.  That alone makes it wrong under any circumstances.  As if that were not enough, the endless bad possibilities that the affair can bring far surpass the temporary good.


    Instead of listing these possibilities, I want to show what I think is meant by  The Storm.   When people first read the story, they get the impression that Chapin is in some way defending, or approving of, adultery.  As with her previous works, it deals with a controversial theme and was quickly judged immoral.  I disagree.  If Calixta and Alcee would have thought their actions through and looked deeper into the situation, then the affair would not have happened.  The same applies to reading the story.  You have to look a little deeper, and once you do you realize that things are not as they first appear.


    To illustrate this, I want to bring up a point made earlier.  When Bobinot tells his son of the approaching storm, Chopin describes it as  somber clouds that were rolling with sinister intention accompanied by a sullen, threatening roar (665).  On the surface it is just a way of describing the storm.  No big deal.  But to me, when she uses words like  sinister intention  and threatening roar  it is a type of personification, or giving an inanimate object the qualities of a person or animal.  Looking back at the direct effects the storm has on the characters, it is clear to see that the storm it the main reason why the affair took place.  Everything the storm does drives them closer to it, as if fulfilling it s sinister intent.  Because adultery is a sin, an affair is an act of evil.  Hence, in the constant battle of Good and Evil, it is clear what side the storm is on.  Because she gave it characteristics of a person, that person would have to be evil.  When I think of an evil person I think of the Devil.  So the storm is symbolic of the Devil.


    In the events of the storm, it is clear that the storm has a tremendous effect on the characters involved.  The way we view the story, good or bad, depends on how we look at it.  In my analysis, the storm is some representation of evil.  It plays a big part to the overall meaning of the story and depending on the way you interpret the storm that influences the way you look at the story as a whole.
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