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In Kate Chopin's story "The Storm," explain the last line: "So the storm passed, and...

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vgz1116 | Honors

Posted September 6, 2011 at 7:00 AM via web

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In Kate Chopin's story "The Storm," explain the last line: "So the storm passed, and everyone was happy." If you assume she is being ironic, point to other examples of irony in the story.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 6, 2011 at 7:47 AM (Answer #1)

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A very strong case can be made that the final sentence of Kate Chopin’s short story “The Storm” is ironic and that it is simply the final example of many moments in the story that can be read ironically.  The possible ironies in the story become especially apparent when it is read for the second time.  Here are a few:

 

  • Young Bibi assumes that his mother will be afraid of the storm. Instead, she uses the storm as an occasion to commit adultery. Bibi’s touching concern for his mother therefore seems a bit ironic.
  • Bobinôt tells his son that Calixta will shut the house in response to the storm. Instead, she opens up her bedroom.
  • Bobinôt purchases a can of shrimp for his wife, thereby showing his (ironic) concern for the woman who is about to cheat on him.
  • Calixta is not concerned about the safety of her husband and son, although we have just seen them (ironically) expressing great concern for her safety.
  • Alcée grabs, of all things, Bobinôt’s “trousers” off the clothes line when the storm begins.  (Hmmmm . . . ironically symbolic?)
  • There may be some irony in the description of Alcée helping Calixta keep the water from coming inside beneath the door.
  • The “white” color of Calixta’s bed may be ironic, especially since white is a common symbol of purity and particularly in light of how the bed is about to be used.
  • Her young son’s bed is right next to the bed in which his mother commits adultery.
  • As Bobinôt and Bibi approach the house, Bobinôt worries that they are too badly stained to be worthy of Calixta’s sight:

"My! Bibi, w'at will yo' mama say! You ought to be ashame'. You oughta' put on those good pants. Look at 'em! An' that mud on yo' collar! How you got that mud on yo' collar, Bibi? I never saw such a boy!"

  • Calixta, who has arguably just behaved in a highly unscrupulous way, is described as an “over-scrupulous housewife.”
  • Calixta arguably lies when she tells her husband that she was “uneasy” about his absence.
  • The reunited family laugh so loudly that their laughter might even, the narrator says, be heard (ironically) at Alcée’s place.
  • Practically every single sentence of the final two sections is arguably ironic.

 

 

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