How essential is the setting to the short story, "The Storm"? 

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Kate Chopin's setting of the area around New Orleans, Louisiana, is an area rich in French and Spanish heritage, and Calixta, an Acadian, possesses the strong passions that match the turbulent weather of her environment.  In fact, the storm that rises in the sky is a metaphor for the rising passions of the two main characters, Calixta and Monsieur Alcee, two people who have met each other previously. Although their encounter was charged with passion, the gentleman Alcee was forbidden by his honor to "prevail" upon her innocence at that time.

Now, however, caught in the violent storm alone after two years, the violence of their passions--heretofore unrealised--explodes in a maelstrom fo emotion,

They did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as she lay in his arms. She was a revelation in that dim, mysterious chamber....The generous abundance of her passion, without guile or trickery, was like a white flame which penetrated and found response in depths of his own sensuous nature that had never yet been reached. 

And, just as the tempest subsides, Calixta and Alcee are both refreshed as is nature by the rains. Clearly, the passions of the two lovers parallels the turbulent energy of the storm, that rises and ebbs. Indeed, the setting of the tropical environment of Louisiana with its cyclones and tempests is essential for the moments of violent emotions and renewed passions ignited in the lovers.