Homework Help

What symbolic elements can be found in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin and how does it...

user profile pic

firestarter | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 15, 2010 at 11:04 AM via web

dislike 3 like

What symbolic elements can be found in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin and how does it relate to the characters?

I've noticed that the storm holds a quite a bit of symbolism in the story but what other forms of symbolism do you see and what do understand the storm's symbolism to stand for?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

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

Posted February 15, 2010 at 11:20 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 3 like

Even though it is a pretty short story, "The Storm" by Kate Chopin is packed with symbolism.  As you mentioned in your question, the storm itself is a symbol of the coming change that occurs in the lives of the characters, as a result of Alcee's affair with Calixta.  The story itself starts with a storm brewing, seeming to foreshadow great harm or chaos; in reality, it ushers in what Chopin makes out to be a very positive change in the life of all of the characters.  The affair, instead of tearing their lives apart like a storm would, instead frees Calixta and helps her to release some of her frustrations, and settle more happily into her station in life.  So, the storm is a symbol of something that normally would be considered bad, tumultuous or dangerous actually being something that is good and fulfilling.  That description applies to both the storm itself and to the affair's impact on the characters' lives.

Other symbolism can include Chopin's use of colors.  The bedroom is white, symbolizing how she feels their affair is a sanctified and pure act, rather than a sinful one, as society felt.  Calixta's lips are red and hair is shining gold, symbolizing her appeal to Alcee.  So, take a look at the colors that are used also, as they hold symbolic value.  Then you have little things throughout the story, like the chinaberry tree being struck by lightning, symbolizing or foreshadowing a great change about to occur, the shrimps that Bobinot buys for his wife, as a symbol of his desire to please her, and his fear of her disapproval.  The mud on the shoes that he and his son track into the house, as a symbol of the displeasure of Calixta in her station as a housewife, that is associated with her husband and son....if you look closely, you can use many things as symbols.

I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes