Why would you say Calixta feels no need for punishment for the adultery she's committed in The Storm?Why would you say Calixta feels no need for punishment for the adultery she's committed in The...
Why would you say Calixta feels no need for punishment for the adultery she's committed in The Storm?
I think that part of the reason why Calixta does not feel the need for punishment is that she does not see sex as the Puritanical force that requires condemnation. There is a complexity in Chopin's construction that helps to explain this. Chopin has developed relationships that can be seen as extremely strong on their own foundations. Therefore, even though Calixta engages in sexual activity with Alcee, she is confident in her marriage, so much so that the sexual escapade has its own context and its own realm that does not impeded in that of marriage. It is for this reason that she feels no need for punishment. The other way that Chopin has constructed this predicament is to define marriage and sensual pleasure as two different realms. The physical awakening and excitement that Calixta feels with Alcee is fundamentally different than what she feels in marriage. In order for her to experience this, she has to engage in what she does with Alcee. She understands this, and because of this, she recognizes the division between both and does not see how one interferes in the realm of the other. In both constructions, Calixta does not feel the need to punish herself because she does not feel that what she has done has taken away from her relationship with her husband and child.
Let us remember that in this story, as elsewhere in her fiction, Chopin is protesting against narrow, confining, Puritain notions of marriage and sexuality. If you look carefully at the story, both Alcee and Calixta actually return to their marriages and roles as spouses and parents all the better for having released their passion in such a profoundly sexual way. The title of the story itself seems to refer to the way in which the pent up frustrations are released in a storm of passion, that leaves both of them better off afterwards, able to resume their roles with more satisfaction and ease.
After the heat and passion of the storm of intimacy has past, Calixta and Alcée are both newly warm and receptive to their spouses and children. Chopin indicates that they have each been liberated by their stormy experience and are now liberating in their emotional gifts to their family. Chopin suggests that anyone who finds such freedom of soul and such extension of benefit--anyone who doesn't have moral or religious grounds for discounting this liberation--will find no feelings of nor any need for guilt and punishment--only joy like the joy that Calixta greets her family with.
With the lack of premeditation, the storm of passion is just that--pure physical energy. There is no connection of souls that exists in her marriage for Calixta. Therefore, she feels no guilt.