Analysis of Kate Chopin's Short Story 'The Storm' and Its Main Theme

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The attributes of gender roles formed by society have always held a strong influence over everyone. Based on these standards, it is expected for women to stay at home and handle all of the house chores, as well as be emotionally, physically, and financially dependent on their husbands. This expectation is heavily followed by the world at large and is reflected in many famous literary works, such as ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ by Laura Esquivel or ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood. However, some writers break out of the norm and express their ideas from the standpoint of women, while being oppressed under societal expectations. This can be seen in ‘The Storm’ written by Kate Chopin in 1898, where both of the female characters seek their desired satisfaction away from their husbands. This Chopin’s work contradicts the traditional gender expectations of women being enforced at the time they were written through the expression of freedom in love and sexual intimacy.

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By expressing the freedom of love and sexual intimacy, Kate Chopin has gone against the traditional gender expectations of women being enforced at the time the story was written with ‘The Storm’. This short story describes passionate sexual intercourse during a heavy storm between the two characters, Calixta and Alcée, while their marital partners are away. At the start, Chopin states: “She was greatly occupied and did not notice the approaching storm” (Chopin, 274). This implies the nature of the gender expectations for women. In this case, Calixta is being restrained within her own marriage with her husband, Bobinôt, and society with house chores. According to Admin, “the storm raging in nature is suffused with the one waging in the protagonist’s heart as she lets loose of her marital bondage and societal propriety”. With the sexual intercourse, Calixta gains full independence in her choice of love, without being controlled by her marriage and society. She also gets to experience satisfaction and pleasure to her fullest potential. Likewise, Alcée’s wife, Clarisse, is being repressed by her marriage with the responsibility of being a part of their intimate life. According to Chopin, “Devoted as she was to her husband, their intimate conjugal life was something she was more than willing to forego for a while” (Chopin, 277). By being far away from her husband, Clarisse finds relief from not having to participate in their sexual intimate life. Both women in ‘The Storm’ seek their desire for satisfaction elsewhere from their marital partners: Calixta finds satisfaction from her sexual desires with another man, whereas Clarisse finds relief in the absence of her intimate life with her husband. This indicates their independence in fully expressing their choice in love and sexual intimacy.

Summing up, Kate Chopin’s story ‘The Storm’ contradicts the traditional gender expectations of women being enforced at the time it was written through the expression of freedom in love and sexual intimacy. Both women in the story seek fulfillment of their desires away from their spouses, which is contradictory to the traditional gender expectations of women of being emotionally, physically, and financially dependent on men.

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Analysis of Kate Chopin’s Short Story ‘The Storm’ and Its Main Theme. (2024, January 04). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-kate-chopins-short-story-the-storm-and-its-main-theme/
“Analysis of Kate Chopin’s Short Story ‘The Storm’ and Its Main Theme.” Edubirdie, 04 Jan. 2024, edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-kate-chopins-short-story-the-storm-and-its-main-theme/
Analysis of Kate Chopin’s Short Story ‘The Storm’ and Its Main Theme. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-kate-chopins-short-story-the-storm-and-its-main-theme/> [Accessed 15 Apr. 2024].
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