Characters

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Last Updated September 6, 2023.

Bobinôt

Bobinôt is Calixta’s husband and Bibi’s father. He and Bibi have gone to the store, and a storm has come upon them so suddenly that they decide it will be best to wait it out there. Bobinôt’s wife is home alone, but Bobinôt feels only concern that she will be worried, and he thoughtfully buys her a can of shrimp because she is so fond of them. It is a small but loving gesture that seems to show how interested this husband is in his wife’s comfort and happiness.

Bibi

Bibi is the four-year-old son of Calixta and Bobinôt. He worries that his mother will be frightened by the storm but is not afraid of the storm himself. Calixta, however, is afraid for Bibi’s and Bobinôt’s safety when the storm intensifies.

Calixta

Bobinôt's wife, Calixta, meanwhile, is quite comfortable at home. She feels no concern about her family's safety at first, apparently secure in her knowledge that her husband will know what to do to protect their son from the storm. Upon realizing that the storm is approaching quickly, she rushes outside to gather Bobinôt's laundry from the line. She loves her husband, though when her former lover arrives asking for shelter, she is soon overwhelmed by passion. Only as she feels the sexual tension between them rise does she begin to express concern for her family’s safety, though even her former lover knows that her husband has “sense enough to come in out of a cyclone.” The storm outside seems to match the emotional storm inside, as Calixta finally gives herself over to her feelings, the “generous abundance of her passion.” Once her family returns home, she slips easily back into her life as a caring wife and mother—a life that, while it seems to include love and happiness, does not seem to include the kind of passion she felt in her family’s absence. The narrator describes her as an “over-scrupulous housewife,” and indeed, she is dutifully cooking supper for her husband and son when they arrive.

Alcée Laballière

Calixta's former lover, Alcée, does not come to her home with the intention of engaging in a passionate sexual liaison with her. He does not even ask to come inside her house to wait out the storm; he only asks if he can stand in the shelter of her porch. He has, apparently, never forgotten the passion he felt for Calixta, and he would never dare to impinge upon her honor. He is not anxious for his own wife to return from her out-of-town visit, and he lovingly encourages her to stay and enjoy herself a while longer.

Clarisse Laballière

Alcée’s wife, Clarisse, is on vacation with their children in Biloxi, Mississippi, during the events of the story. She happily accepts her husband’s urging to continue her stay, feeling free for the first time since before she and Alcée were married. Although Clarisse loves her husband, she is quite content to have this time to herself, away from their marriage bed.

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