A Critical Analysis of “The Storm” In her text titled “The Storm”, Chopin (1969) was able to carefully integrate a lot of interesting themes and perspectives concerning women empowerment and feminism. Upon carefully reading the text, one will be able to surmise how Chopin was able to raise some pertinent issues about gender relations through the characters of Alcee and Calixta. While the text cannot be in any way, perceived as a typical love story, it was able to successfully address some important issues within the society from an alternative perspective.
Through this revolutionary text, Chopin was able to effectively illustrate her points about women empowerment and challenged the prevailing notions on marriage and sexuality. In “The Storm”, Chopin consciously tried to deliver her points about women empowerment. This specific concept can be easily related to the character of Calixta who is just like the other women characters in Chopin’s other short stories. Calixta has been introduced in the text as a wife and a mother and one can only assume that she is already familiar with the typical conventions of marriage.
As she was described in the text by Chopin (1969), “Her blue eyes still retained their melting quality; and her yellow hair, disheveled by the wind and rain, kinked more stubbornly than ever about her ears and temples.” Nevertheless, Chopin did not merely establish her protagonist as a mere housewife but a rather revolutionary one for that matter. Koloski (1996) claims that “Calixta is—as critics argued—a modern woman breaking free of assigned female roles. And the natural forces in the work ‘refresh’ everybody (p. 77).” Calixta is definitely a refreshing character in Chopin’s text because she served as a symbol of women’s empowerment and liberation. She was positively portrayed as a character who naturally pursued her heart’s desire regardless of her status as a wife and the expectations of society to women like her.
Upon reading the text, one will be able to surmise that the storm assumes a major role in the story’s development. The storm can be considered as a central motif in the story because it allowed Alcee and Calixta to pursue their choice to engage in an adulterous affair. Chopin (1969) writes in the text, “They did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as she lay in his arms.
” As the storm rages in the story, the passionate affair also envelopes in Chopin’s story. This inevitable force of nature allowed Calixta and Alcee to reestablish a sense of connection with one another. This connection was initiated when they started to engage in a sexual and adulterous act. It was a rather spontaneous act made by these former lovers. On the other hand, Chopin also used her text to actively challenge the prevailing notions of marriage and sexuality. From the very first part of the text, Chopin (1969) already establishes the problematic restrictions that marriage can bring to people: “As she stepped outside, Alcée Laballière rode in at the gate. She had not seen him very often since her marriage, and never alone.
” In this passage, readers can notice that during this time, former lovers like Alcee and Calixta avoided each other. One can only assume that their parting left a huge impact on their lives to the point that they consciously tried not to be in the presence of one another. However, their meeting eventually opened up this new chapter in their relationship.
In his book, Stein (2005) argues that “a married woman’s pursuit of sexual fulfillment beyond any that she can ever know with her husband leads to no disturbing consequences. Furthermore, Chopin seems actually to be suggesting that if married women, enmeshed in constraints in every other area of their lives, achieve some sexual autonomy through direct transgression, none should criticize them for it (p. 47).” This is true in Chopin’s text especially since the readers witnessed the natural dimension in Calixta’s decision to engage in the adulterous affair with her former lover. The author described this as an almost natural act that women should do in their lives in order to attain a sense of freedom.
The sexual encounter between Calixta and Alcee can be considered as a liberating act for the two characters, more especially to Calixta. Through the encounter, readers will be able to see how Chopin perceives marriage in a very different way. For Chopin, marriage can be very restrictive for women especially because it denies them to explore their sexuality. People are often taught about the negative implications of adultery because it can destroy marriage.
However, Chopin apparently does not consider the sexual encounter as a problematic act but rather, a liberating one that empowered Calixta as a woman. However, Stein (2005) remarks that “Chopin would concur that freedom can nourish, but she is also…thoroughly alert to all the difficulties and dangers inherent in the struggle to attain freedom and personal power (p. 48).” Even though Chopin reminds her readers about the potentials of freedom to be maximized in some instances, she is also aware of the challenges that can be encountered along the way.
This can be related to the restrictive characteristic of marriage, as well as the established expectations of society to married couples. Generally, one will be able to see the relevance of Chopin’s text in the process of addressing some serious and important issues that women encounter even in the present time. Through the plot and character development, Chopin was able to illustrate her perspectives about women empowerment and its necessity within the society. She was also able to debunk the classic notions about marriage and sexuality