How does the setting contribute to the plot of the story "The Storm"?  

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The plot of a story is comprised of its main events. It refers, essentially, to what happens and the order in which the events take place. In order to give Calixta and Alcee Laballiere the chance to find themselves alone, Kate Chopin , the author, must create the opportunity, and...

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The plot of a story is comprised of its main events. It refers, essentially, to what happens and the order in which the events take place. In order to give Calixta and Alcee Laballiere the chance to find themselves alone, Kate Chopin, the author, must create the opportunity, and the arrival of the storm is the way she does this.

Bobinot, Calixta's husband, and Bibi, her son, have gone to the store in town, and they "decided to remain there till the storm had passed." This means that Calixta will be alone in her home for some time, as the storm is a big one, and the pair will need to wait awhile before starting back to the house.

Further, the storm compels Alcee Laballiere to stop and shelter under the porch of Calixta's home as he happened to be passing by:

He expressed an intention to remain outside, but it was soon apparent that he might as well have been out in the open: the water beat in upon the boards in driving sheets, and he went inside, closing the door after him.

Evidently Alcee wants to avoid the very situation into which the storm forces him—being alone with and in very close proximity to Calixta—and so the storm is needed to create the opportunity for them be in one another's presence like this.

The storm also creates the emotional tension required. Calixta worries over her husband and son, and she "would not compose herself; she would not be seated." In an effort, apparently, to calm her, Alcee grasps her shoulders and looks into her eyes. However, "The contact of her warm, palpitating body when he had unthinkingly drawn her into his arms, had aroused all the old-time infatuation and desire for her flesh." Had the storm never arrived, Alcee would likely not have allowed himself to be in such close proximity to her.

In other words, then, the arrival of the storm creates the opportunity for there to be a story at all: it delays Calixta's family, leaving her alone in the house; it compels a former lover to stop and shelter at her home, and it even creates the tension that drives them into one another's arms.

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The storm could be seen as a metaphor for the intense passion that rages between Alcée and Calixta. Like the storm, their love is wild and uncontrollable, but ultimately isn't destined to last. As with the most passionate and intense of relationships, the storm is capable of great destruction. In this particular case the storm has acted as a catalyst for the potential destruction of two marriages by driving these young lovers into each other's arms.

One gets the impression that this illicit affair is destined to end in tears, that there will be many more storms ahead, both literal and figurative. The question remains as to how Alcée and Calixta will find shelter in the midst of such emotional turmoil, or even whether such shelter will even exist. Under the circumstances it's unlikely in the extreme that they will be able to break free from the restrictive social mores of their class and find a haven of peace in which they can commit themselves to each other on a more permanent basis.

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The cyclone that strikes in Kate Chopin's story "The Storm" is the objective correlative of the storm of emotions that occurs with Calixta and Alcée. It also provides the occasion for Alcée to take shelter and it is the impetus to their highly emotional encounter.

The setting of the cyclone in Chopin's story contributes greatly to the plot because Bôbinot and Bibi are unable to return home for some time until the storm abates. Also, during this storm Alicée Laballière rides in at the gate of Calixta's home and asks if he may take shelter until the storm abates. His presence in her home when Calixta is in a state of high emotion and all alone places this man and woman again into a situation much like the highly charged one at the 'Cadian ball a few years ago:

He looked down into her eyes and there was nothing for him to do but to gather her lips in a kiss. It reminded him of Assumption.
"Do you remember--in Assumption, Calixta?" he asked in a low voice broken by passion. Oh! she remembered; for in Assumption he had kissed her and kissed and kissed her....

This memory ignites their emotions and personal storms erupt inside the two. These maelstroms of physical passion are so strong that neither of them "heed[s] the crashing torrents." In fact, the "roar of the elements" makes Calixta laugh as she lies in the arms of Alicée. But, once their passions are spent, much like a storm that passes, Alicée rides away. Shortly thereafter, Bôbinot and Bibi arrive home. When Calixta sees them, she springs up, elated that they are safe and excited that Bôbinot has brought shrimp. Then they sit at the table and enjoy their shrimp dinner, laughing and talking loudly and joyously. 

In a similar fashion, the storm inside Alicée has also abated. Upon his return home, he writes his wife, Clarisse. In his letter he instructs her to enjoy herself and remain in her home city of Biloxi a month longer if she wishes because his family's health and pleasure are of the most importance.

It is with a double meaning that Chopin writes the last sentence:
            "So the storm passed and every one was happy." 

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