What is the plot of "The Storm"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is of note that Kate Chopin's "The Storm" is a sequel to "The 'Cadian Ball" because the storm becomes a metaphor for the unleashed passions of Alcée and Calixta aroused in the previous story. 

[In order to chart the plot of "The Storm," Freytag's Pyramid will be used.]

Exposition - In this part of the plot the setting and characters are introduced. 

Bobinôt and his son Bibi find themselves waiting out a violet storm at Friedheimer's store.  While they are gone, Calista does not worry about her husband and son; instead, she goes about her chores. However, when she realizes that she has left her husband's Sunday clothes outside to dry, Calixta hurries out onto the small front gallery where she sees Alcée riding up. He asks if he can wait out the storm there on her gallery, but she insists that he come in the house.

Rising Action - In this part the "problem" is introduced.

As Calixta stands at a window, a lightning bolt strikes a chinaberry tree and the "blinding glare and crash" startle Calixta so much that she staggers backward. Alcée puts his arm around her and as she touches him, old fires burn within him. As he tries to allay her fears, Alcée looks into her eyes that have "a drowsy gleam that unconsciously betrayed a sensuous desire," so he kisses her and is reminded of Assumption and their feelings there.

Climax - The point of highest intensity

Alcée and Calixta no longer heed the "crashing torrents" in their own unleashed passion as they make love. 

Falling Action - The conflict unravels

Having finally satisfied their passionate feelings for each other, Alcée rides away, but turns and smiles at her; she "lifter her pretty chin in the air and laughed aloud."  In the meantime, Bobinôt and Bibi trudge across muddy, wet fields towards home. Before they arrive, Bobinôt scrapes as much mud off them both because Calixta is a meticulous housewife. His fears are allayed as his wife greets him and the boy with great relief and joy.

Denouement - The story ends and the main characters are without conflict.

Calixta is delighted with the shrimp that her husband brings, promising him a feast that night. Bobinôt writes his wife a loving note, "full of tender solicitude," telling her to relax in Biloxi. She is elated to stay longer and feel the "pleasant liberty of her maiden days."

The storm has passed and all are content.

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