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Based on the short story "The Storm," what was Kate Chopin's view of relationships?

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roxxy1986 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 13, 2011 at 11:13 PM via web

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Based on the short story "The Storm," what was Kate Chopin's view of relationships?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 14, 2011 at 3:42 AM (Answer #1)

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You might find it more interesting to ask what Chopin's views on marriage were based on this excellent short story. Clearly what is notable about this text is the way that Chopin presents sex outside of marriage, yet this is not depicted in a negative fashion--quite the reverse. Indeed, Calixta is shown to be liberated and fulfilled in a way that she has never been fulfilled by her marriage to her husband:

When he touched her breasts they gave themselves up in quivering ecstasy, inviting his lips. Her mouth was a fountain of delight. And when he possessed her, they seemed to swoon together at the very borderland of life's mystery.

Indeed, having had this "storm" of passion, Calixta is shown to be able to welcome her husband and son with great affection and warmth. Chopin seems to suggest that having her physical and sexual needs met is actually a good think for her marriage.

You might want to consider, too, the way in which this is paralleled by Alcee's marriage. Clarisse is said to be "devoted" to her husband, and yet at the same time she is enjoying having freedom once more:

And the first free breath since her marriage seemed to restore the pleasant liberty of her maiden days.

Chopin thus seems to be commenting on the strictness of marriage and suggesting how it can actually damage people. A freer, more liberated approach that recognises the needs and hungers of individuals would actually be healthier for all concerned, she seems to be suggesting.

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