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

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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."