Explain the cultural, social, and historical implications of "The Storm."

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Kate Chopin's short story "The Storm" was not published during her lifetime because of its scandalous (for that time) content. In the late-ninteenth century, women writing about adulterous and simultaneously fulfilling relationships would not have been tolerated.

Thus, Calixta comes to represent the same societal restrictions that Chopin faced herself. In the late 1800s, women were almost wholly dependent on the men in their lives. They were not allowed to vote, in many places were not allowed to own their own property, and often could not even hold money in their own names. Women were expected to uphold strict standards of purity, and they were therefore kept separate from men's "scandalous" gatherings in matters such as politics and business dealings. Women were considered the weaker and more delicate sex, and men felt it necessary to constantly protect them.

Chopin's creation of Calixta shows that women were not simply passive, pure, innocent creatures waiting to do their husbands' bidding. Instead, we find that Calixta is passionate in ways she can never be with her husband.

We also see evidence of local color in Calixta's language. She lives in southern Louisiana, where both the English and French have influenced the culture. Consider this blend of language which demonstrates this particular culture:

“If this keeps up, Dieu sait if the levees goin' to stan it!” she exclaimed.

This blend of language helps Calixta seem an ordinary housewife from southern Louisana; her speech is unpretentious and common to ordinary life in that setting. Thus, Calixta's sensuous affair in the storm could happen to any housewife who was looking for a means of even temporarily escaping the daily restrictions of her patriarchal society.

The storm that blew Alcée into Calixta's house passes, and this is also symbolic of Calixta's affair. She seems satisfied in her lone encounter with him, happy when her husband returns and not appearing to long for more. Her sexual needs have been fulfilled in this moment of passion shared with a man other than her husband, and she is now ready to return to the life expected of her. This message would not have been received well in Chopin's lifetime, which is why it never found its way to publication until almost 70 years later.

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