The Storm The setting for “The Storm” by Kate Chopin begins with a thunderstorm. The first characters that the author mentions are Bobinot and his son Bibi. They buy a can of shrimps for Calixta but are prevented from getting them to her by the storm (Chopin, 96).
The author changes the setting and tells about Calixta at home. A man named Alcee arrives at her house that she has not seen in a long time. The violence of the storm forces Alcee and Calixta into the house and then into passion that ends at the same time as the storm. Chopin uses setting as a catalyst to this action, a parallel to the passion between the characters, and as a key to the theme of the story. Setting in this story is the catalyst to the passion that occurs between Alcee and Calixta. The storm occurs just as Alcee rides by.
Calixta has to go out to get Bibi’s coat and sees Alcee. The storm forces Alcee and Calixta into the house and makes them shut the door (96). The fact that the door to the bedroom is open and the big white bed can be seen, contributes to the setting by foreshadowing future events. The storm obscures the view of other cabins and implies that they are totally alone in the house with no one to see them. They are trapped together in the world of the storm and cannot leave. Lightning strikes the tree and makes Calixta fall backward into Alcee’s arms (97).
The setting in “The Storm” forces Alcee and Calixta together and into each other’s arms. The storm serves as a parallel to the passion between Alcee and Calixta. The storm is unavoidable and so is the passion because of it. When the storm forces them into each other’s arms, the familiarity with their previous lives takes over and they begin having an affair (97). The storm ending at the same time as the passion, implies that they are parallel with each other. Just as the storm is a passing event that changes nature for a short time, so the affair is passing and changes the emotions of Alcee and Calixta.
A storm leaves the world peaceful, bright and clean. The author portrays the affair as leaving their family relationships peaceful and full of new joy. With the last line of the story, “So the storm passed and everyone was happy,” (99) Chopin compares the storm’s outcome with that of the affair. The storm is key to the story because it is the all-powerful force of nature that drives the two lovers together, which would be almost impossible without the storm.
Because the storm occurs when Alcee is riding by Calixta’s house, it forces him to go there. He must take refuge inside her house when the rain starts to drench him (96). By portraying the storm as bringing freshness and happiness, the author is implying that it would bring happiness to the relationships of Calixta and Alcee’s families. If the storm had not occurred, Calixta would have been angry with Bobinot for coming home so ragged. Also, Alcee’s wife would not have gotten the relief of knowing that she could do as she pleased for a little while longer if Alcee had not written her a letter. Chopin implies that the storm renews the relationships between the families of Alcee and Calixta by showing the love that they show their families after the passionate encounter.
In conclusion, Chopin uses the storm to symbolize the freshness and renewing that comes from the actions of Calixta and Alcee. The author makes the storm the driving force in bringing the two main characters together. The thunderstorm is parallel with the passion and brings happiness to everyone. Without the storm the characters would not have felt a new love for each other.
The storm was the key to making all the good things happen in this story.