In the story "The Storm" by Kate Chopin, explain how the setting causes the plot to happen, forces the characters to discover and reveal hidden aspects of themselves, and influences the theme.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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"The Storm" takes place in a village in coastal Louisiana, with the most prominent setting being the home of Calixta and Bobinôt. Aside from the house, however, the time, place, and circumstances related to the setting also play a lot of importance in who the characters are in society. 

The home, described as a small house whose salient trait is the "white, monumental bed," is of great importance because it is in that bed that Calixta and Alcée, her former flame, end up passing the storm.  

The house, where Calixta spends a lot of her time alone even though she is married with children, ends up housing her former boyfriend, who was passing by and whom she had not seen for a while after her marriage. What this means is that the house seems to have called the lovers back together to fulfill their wishes of intimacy in the bedroom, while keeping everyone away due to the huge storm that came over the town. 

The hidden aspects revealed by the storm are evident in Alcée and Calixta more than any other characters. Calixta resents her lonely life after marriage, and she is certainly not fulfilled. She is so unfulfilled that it takes just a few touches from Alcée for the two to become immediately engaged in a sexual act. Alcée has always loved Calixta but he is also married. Yet he also seems shocked at the fact that they have finally become intimate even when they had opportunities in the past but never took them. 

One more important fact about the setting is that the story takes place in 19th century Louisiana. There were social differences among the French descendants of the first French generation that lived in the area. Calixta and Bobinôt speak like what the novel calls "Cadians." These are the Acadians, or the inhabitants of Acadia in Nova Scotia, who are descendants of French-Americans that then took exile in Louisiana.

As such, they speak differently, are not considered sophisticated in their insistence on using French, and are generally regarded as inferior to the Creoles, who descend from the original French settlers. Alcée and his wife are Creoles, and it is evident in how Alcée's wife is away traveling while he is here. They seem to come from a higher class, and their English is spoken more clearly than that of Calixta and her family. 

Hence, the time and place of the setting reveal that there are differences among the inhabitants of the area. These differences are mainly found in the way they speak, which reveals who they are in society and what their lineage is. 

Additionally, the setting of the small house with the huge bed under a massive storm creates the opportunity for the two main characters to become isolated and answer to their inner desires once they are alone in the right place and in the right time.