In most stories, there are characters that the author will use to help develop and tell the plot of the tale. Villains, superheroes, and monsters–all of these are characters with which the reader is familiar. Authors use many techniques to develop the personalities of these characters to the readers. Authors use literary elements such as inner dialogue, appearance, and name meaning to create the characters. In “The Storm” by Kate Chopin, Chopin uses the plot of the story, Calixta’s reactions to others, Claixta’s dialogue, and her name and appearance to show how she is the protagonist of the story.
Chopin uses the plot of “The Storm” to develop her protagonist: Calixta. She is the protagonist of the story because she is the type of woman that wants the best for her family and herself. When Alce ends up staying at her house during the storm, Calixta and Alce have a sexual encounter where Calixta ends up enjoying herself and not feeling bad at all about it afterward. “She was a revelation in that dim, mysterious chamber; as white as the couch she lay upon. Her firm, elastic flesh that was knowing for the first time its birthright, was like a creamy lily that the sun invites to contribute its breath and perfume to the undying life of the world” (Chopin). Calixa realizes that she needs to be able to enjoy herself too, even though her husband isn’t the one to help her do that. “Chopin offered an unusually frank depiction of a joyful and pleasurable extra-marital sexual encounter with positive effects on both partners and their families” (Ewell). The plot of the story shows Calixta as the protagonist because she takes care of her family and does the housewife and motherly duties. However, she also engages in this sexual encounter to take care of herself.
Calixta’s reactions to others develop her more into the protagonist of the story. In “The Storm”, Calixta responds in a very caring way when she sees her family walk through the door after the storm. “Calixta was preparing supper. She had set the table and was dripping coffee at the hearth. She sprang up as they came in” (Chopin). Her reactions to seeing Bobint and Bibi walk in show that she loves her family. Being the protagonist, Calixta is concerned about the security of her family and now feels comfort knowing that nothing bad happened to them while they were gone.
Chopin uses dialogue to further develop “The Storm’s” protagonist. Calixta says, ‘Oh, Bobint! You back! My! But I was uneasy. W’ere you been during the rain? An’ Bibi? he ain’t wet? he ain’t hurt’ (Chopin). Calixta’s statement to Bobint and Bibi shows how she was genuinely concerned and truly cared about their well being while the storm was going on. ‘I got enough to do! An’ there’s Bobint with Bibi out in that storm if he only didn’ left Friedheimer’s” (Chopin). This quote from Calixta shows how throughout the story she worries about the safety of her husband and child, all while she knows that she has chores to do around the house. Her dialogue shows that she is the protagonist because she plays that housewife and motherly role of caring for her family and house.
Calixta’s name and appearance add to the fact that she is the protagonist of the story. The name “Calixta” means ‘she that is most beautiful” (Calixta Name Meaning & Origin). In “The Storm,” Calixta is described as “…and a little fuller of figure than five years before when she married; but she had lost nothing of her vivacity. 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” (Chopin). Her name and appearance show that she is a gorgeous, spirited, and bright person. Generally, the protagonists are charming and beautiful characters, and that is why Calixta fits the description of one.
Kate Chopin uses many techniques in her short story “The Storm” to show how Calixta is the protagonist. In the plot of the story, Calixta is a strong woman and cares about not only her family’s needs, but her needs as well. Calixta’s reactions to others show that she is a concerned person when she finally sees her family walk into their house after the storm. Finally, Calixta’s dialogue, name, and appearance reveal how she is a beautiful and protective wife and mother giving her qualities of a protagonist.