How can I compare and contrast the settings of "The Storm" and "The Story of an Hour"?
In "The Story of an Hour," Louise Mallard is in her home, having just learned that her husband is dead. She retreats to her room to mourn, leaving her sister and her husband's friend downstairs. The most significant part of the setting is the open window of that room and the landscape outside. She is mentally and physically exhausted from dealing with the news of her husband's death, but she is rejuvenated at the thought of her new found freedom. The "open" window signifies this freedom, that she is no longer closed in, locked into the role of the dutiful wife within the confines of a traditional marriage. Looking out of the window, everything she sees seems full of life and promise. The trees were "all aquiver with the new spring of life." She hears a song, the twittering of sparrows, and she sees the blue patches of sky emerging from the clouds. The sky and the world are "opening" up to her.
The blue sky peering through the clouds represents Louise's awakening to freedom. In "The Storm," the weather is quite the opposite. However, it represents a similar theme of freedom. In this story, the outpouring of the storm represents the outpouring of passion from Calixta. The release of the rain and the power of the storm symbolize the passion experienced between Calixta and Alcee.
The two settings are drastically different. The calm, clear blue sky is opposed to the chaotic, thundering rain. However, both settings represent similar things to both women. For Louise, the clear sky represents an awakening of freedom and a sense of empowerment. In the latter story, the storm represents an outpouring of passion. In both cases, the setting is used to symbolize feelings of freedom which are limited by the roles of traditional marriage.