What is the irony in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The irony in this excellent short story lies in the impact of the adulterous relationship between Calixta and Alcee on their marriages. There is situational irony in the way that we expect that such a tempestuous (no pun intended) session of lovemaking, which is presented very explicitly but also in a way that suggests that Calixta and Alcee are somehow meant for each other actually benefits their respective marriages. Note how their union is presented:

Her firm, elastic flesh that was knowing for the first time its birthright, was like a creamy lily that the sun invites to contribute its breath and perfume to the undying life of the world.

Phrases such as Calixta knowing her "birthright" whilst having extra-marital sex with Alcee suggest that she will be unable to return to her husband after this. However, after the storm of passion that has been unleashed, the air appears to have been cleared, and both Calixta and Alcee are shown to return even happier than before to their respective partners:

So the storm passed and everyone was happy.

This is the irony in this excellent short story, as Chopin shockingly suggests that such outlets of tempestuous passion can actually help marriage rather than destroy it.

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