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Given how sexually explicit this short story is, it is no wonder why Kate Chopin did not publish it during her lifetime.In the late 1800s and early 1900s, any written work that was sexual was not considered respectable by societal standards.While Chopin was known to be a good wife and mother, she often grew tired of domestic life and escaped to smoke cigarettes or take solitary walks through New Orleans.
After a year spent managing her late husband’s general store and plantation, Chopin moved back to Missouri with her children to be with her mother and family. In 1889 Chopin began writing fiction, an activity that enabled her to develop and express her strong views on women, sex, and marriage while simultaneously supporting her family.
Chopin enjoyed immediate success with her writings about the French Creoles and Cajuns she had met and observed during her New Orleans and Cloutierville years.
"The Storm" features 5 characters: Bobinôt, Bibi, Calixta, Alcée, and Clarissa.
The short story is set in the late 19th-century at Friedheimer's store in Louisiana and at the nearby house of Calixta and Bobinôt.
Both at home with family and at school with the nuns, Kate grew up surrounded by intelligent and independent women.
Her childhood lacked male role models; thus, she was rarely witness to the tradition of female submission and male domination that defined most late nineteenth-century marriages.While other women in town were completing their household chores, Chopin would often stroll or ride horseback down the town’s main street.In 1882, her husband died suddenly of swamp fever, leaving Chopin devastated.Meanwhile, Calixta is at home and indeed is worried about her family.She goes outside to bring in drying laundry before the storm soaks it all over again. He helps Calixta gather laundry and asks if he can wait at her place for the storm to pass over.Clarisse is touched by the loving letter from her husband, though she does enjoy a feeling of liberation that comes from being so far from Alcée and her marriage life. The storm parallels Calixta and Alcée passion and affair in its rising intensity, climax, and conclusion.Like a thunderstorm, Chopin suggests that their affair is intense, but also potentially destructive and passing.It is revealed that Calixta and Alcée are former lovers, and while trying to calm down Calixta, who is anxious about her husband and son in the storm, they eventually succumb to lust and make love as the storm continues to rage on. Calixta is ecstatic that they are safe and the family enjoys a large supper together.The storm ends, and Alcée is now riding away from Calixta's home. Alcée writes a letter to his wife, Clarisse, and kids who are in Biloxi.She sold dozens of short stories and essays exploring themes of love and independence, passion and freedom.By setting her stories in a specific region and community and by basing her characters on real people, Chopin was able to publish controversial stories in a socially acceptable format.