In "The Storm" by Kate Chopin, in what sense does the storm act as a character in the story?

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omconnelly eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Storm" by Kate Chopin, the storm acts an intermediary between Calixta and Alcee. The storm prevents Calixta's husband from returning home. It also keeps Alcee from leaving Calixta because of its intensity and fierceness. 

The intensity of the storm also plays a factor in the story. As the storm intensifies, it creates an intimate and passionate mood within Calixta's home. The pattern of the rain beating against the house and the lightning symbolize the sexual tension that builds and explodes between Calixta and Alcee. Just as the storm will not cease, the characters cannot help but explore their feelings for one another. It is as if the storm is enticing them to embrace the opportunity to be with one another. 

Just as fiercely as the storm rages, it ends. Alcee leaves Calixta, her husband returns, and all is right with the world. No one suspects what has occurred between Calixta and Alcee; as if the rain has washed away any impurities. 

Although the rain is not actually a character in the story, it is a central symbol that helps to perpetuate action throughout the text.