Sexual Storms Are Brewing!

Symbolism runs a rampant path throughout the story “The Storm”, written by Kate Chopin. The storm brewing outside is used to symbolically relate the storm of emotions going on between Calixta and Alcee inside the house. The intensity of their sexual act inside the house follows the pattern of the storm outside. Just as their passion climaxes so does the storm. The underlying meaning of the story is about sexual energy, and passion that is portrayed through an act of nature ( historically femininely associated) – the storm.

The storm has been brewing for some time as has the attraction between Calixta and Alcee. As the storm outside grows in intensity, the sexual tension between Calixta and Alcee also reaches a new level. The storm is personified as a deep, rumbling cloud of feminine sexuality and passion waiting to explode. Feminine sexuality and passion were faux pas in polite society and it was believed that women were not to have those types of feelings. Chopin wrote about them in direct defiance of societal beliefs.

“She unfastened her white sacque at the throat. It began to grow dark, and suddenly realizing the situation she got up hurriedly and went about closing windows and doors” (858). This passage hints at the coming sexual encounter, but also tells us how unaware of her own sexuality and passion Calixta is. Her sexuality has been repressed by society’s view and her marriage and this is represented by her household chores she is hurrying to complete before the storm hits. Again, as Alcee enters the house, we see where Calixta has repressed her passion. “ Come ‘long in, M’sieur Alcee. His voice and her own started her as if from a trance, and she seized Bobinot’s vest. Alcee, mounting to the porch, grabbed the trousers and snatched Bibi’s braided jacket that was about to be carried away by the wind (858).” The mention of mounting the porch refers to the mounting of Calixta that is to come. It is also a little ironic that Alcee grabs Bobinot’s pants, being as we all know that pants come off to perform a sexual act. This is an instance of defiance on the part of Alcee to the fact that he is about to have sex with a married woman.

“The playing of lightening was incessant. A bolt struck a tall chinaberry tree at the edge of the field. It filled all visible space with a blinding glare and the crash seemed to invade the very boards they stood upon (859).” The lightening symbolizes the passion felt between Calixta and Alcee. It draws them together as she falls into his arms and their desire could not be denied after they touched.

Instead of running from the storm (the passion) they embraced it and experienced it in full. “ They did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as she lay in his arms. She was a revelation in that dim, mysterious chamber; as white as the couch she lay upon (859).” The passionate storm has passed as has the raging storm outside. White has long been a symbol of purity and goodness. The mention of the white couch is symbolic of the lack of guilt she felt at having made love to a man other than her husband.

“The rain was over, and the sun was turning the glistening green world into a palace of gems….He turned and smiled at her with a beaming face; and she lifted her pretty chin in the air and laughed aloud (860).” A sense of inner peace and relaxation is felt after their joining and as the storm diminishes. They were satisfied and calmed by the act just as the earth is satisfied by the cleansing rain. The earth was replenished and so were the lovers.

The following passage is used to describe Calixta and her family at dinner that same night. “Bobinot and Bibi began to relax and enjoy themselves, and when the three seated themselves at table they laughed much and so loud that anyone might have heard them as far away as Laballiere’s. (861). Calixta felt new in her secret and was able to relax and enjoy her