Homework Help

What general attitude about sex, love, and marriage does Kate Chopin imply in "The...

user profile pic

seeleyc27 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 25, 2009 at 5:50 AM via web

dislike 2 like

What general attitude about sex, love, and marriage does Kate Chopin imply in "The Storm" and what is evidence in the story to support it?

I have read the story two times and maybe it is me, but I am not sure that I can infer to what Chopin was implying. I know what I think, but I do not believe that what Chopin was saying is what I am thinking. Please help.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 25, 2009 at 7:23 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 4 like

Chopin, as in many of her other stories, is implying that marriage is not necessarily happiness and bliss for all women.  In Chopin's time period, women were born and bred to be married. That was the end goal, and the supposed end to all woes and misery.  Marriage was the "happily ever after" of fairy tales.  In Chopin's time, to express dissatisfaction with marriage was rare, looked down upon, and any sort of independence--especially sexual independence--was highly taboo.  But, in "The Storm," we see a woman who not only strays outside the boudaries of accepted morals in marriage, but finds supreme joy and satisfaction in doing so.

In the story, Calixta is painted as a woman who does not have much love or concern for her husband and son, and who is a bit irritable and tempermental around them.  Right at the beginning it states that she "felt no uneasiness for their safety," referring to her husband and son, who were caught in the middle of an awful rainstorm.  And, when they come home, they very carefully remove the mud from their shoes for fear of "meeting with an over-scrupulous housewife," worried about Calixta's wrath at them having gotten mud all over the house.  So, Calixta seems only to notice her family when she is annoyed with them.  With this, Chopin seems to indicate that Calixta does not find happiness, bliss and total fulfillment with marriage and family, like she is "supposed" to.

Then, look at the descriptions of her with Alcee after their tryst.  It states that "she lifted her pretty chin in the air and laughed aloud," filled with joy and happiness.  And, she is so happy after her affair that she doesn't even get mad at her son and husband for getting mud in the house.  They were all so happy that "they laughed so much and so loud" that anyone peeking in might think they were the perfectly contented family.

It isn't until after her affair that Calixta is happy, relaxed, and at home.  Chopin seems to be indicating that women need to have sexual liberties, and in fact, it would help them to feel more fulfilled.  I hope that these thoughts help a bit; good luc!

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes