Kate Chopin makes use of symbols of fecundity early in the story; the imagery of the farm's "furrows," the chickens, the "plows and a harrow," and of course the "big drops of rain" all suggest fertility, growth, and life. These themes center around Calixta, a mother and domestic goddess who looks after the house, sews, and does laundry. The setting, the farm of Calixta Bobinôt and their son, amplifies this symbolism.
The characterization of Calixta continues the theme of fertility and the sexuality that drives it. She is a woman in the full bloom of maternity with a full figure, "vivacity," and even hair that "kinked...about her ears and temples." Her movements are brisk and purposeful; there is nothing tentative or undeveloped about her.
The story's exposition sets up the circumstances that will lead to the inevitable sexual encounter of Calixta and Alcée. Calixta's son and husband are away and will be unable to travel home through the storm, and her son establishes the fact that Calixta will be home alone because her helper would not be there, either. The natural build up of heat and stillness in the air, and Calixta loosening her gown as she feverishly sews, sets up the arrival of Alcée.
The imagery of the view into the bedroom, with its open door, invites the lovers into a "dim and mysterious" shuttered room where they will pursue their passion in privacy.
The resolution of the story is that life goes on undisturbed by the moment of passion that Alcée and Calixta enjoy. She slips seamlessly back into her role of loving wife and mother, and he writes a loving letter to his wife. Chopin uses the symbol of the storm to represent an outpouring of natural passion that leaves no lasting damage.