Discussion Topic

Literary techniques and strategies in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin

Summary:

In "The Storm," Kate Chopin employs various literary techniques and strategies, including symbolism, imagery, and irony. The storm itself symbolizes the passionate affair between Calixta and Alcée, while vivid imagery enhances the emotional intensity of their encounter. Additionally, Chopin uses irony to highlight societal norms and the characters' personal desires, ultimately questioning the constraints of marriage and morality.

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What literary techniques are used in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin?

Kate Chopin uses colloquial speech to aid in the characterization of Bobinôt and Bibi, seen in Bibi's response to his father's suggestion that Calixta had Sylvie helping her: "No; she ent got Sylvie. Sylvie was helpin' her yistiday."

Chopin also uses varying settings as she moves between Bobinôt and Bibi, and Calixta and Alcée. The story opens with father and son at Friedheimer's store, and then the narrative moves to Bobinôt and Calixta's home.

Imagery is another technique Chopin uses in "The Storm" to describe the weather and the physical attraction of Calixta and Alcée, as seen in this line: "The rain was coming down in sheets obscuring the view of far-off cabins and enveloping the distant wood in a gray mist."

Chopin uses a simile in her physical characterization of Calixta: "Her lips were as red and moist as pomegranate seed."

Though Bobinôt has done nothing wrong in staying at the store during the storm, he fears that he has upset Calixta and approaches her carefully when he returns, rehearsing "explanations and apologies which he had been composing all along the way."  This is situational irony, given that Calixta has just had a sexual liaison with Alcée during the storm.

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What are three literary elements in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin?

The Storm” by Kate Chopin was in a way written in the wrong century. Chopin was ahead of her time in the subject of sex and feminism.  This story seems to condone adultery. No one is caught having the brief affair, and everyone seems happy in the end of the story. All affairs have consequences, but Chopin chooses to let her participants ignore the promises of faithfulness in marriage.

1st element-the exposition for the story

This story has a prequel: “At ‘Cadian Ball.” In this story, the reader learns that Alcee is French creole descended from French settlers in Louisiana. On the other hand, Calixta and her husband are Acadians , descendants of French-Americans who came from Acadia, Nova Scotia. The two social classes do not intermingle.

The Creoles are considered to be in a higher socio-economical class than the Acadians. This boundary kept Alcee and Calixta apart in the prequel to this story. They never consummated their love with sex. It has always been something laying dormant between them. The storm offers them the chance to change this fact, and they take it.

2nd element-Setting

The setting of the story is the end of the nineteenth century. This was the Victorian Age and “prudishness” was the standard that many people followed. In creole Louisiana, the characters are French. The town in which the story takes place is small. Two of the characters—the father and his son—wait out the storm in Friedheimer’s store. Calixta and Bobinot’s home is the most important setting. It has a front porch, dining room, sitting room, and the bedroom with its enormous white bed.

3rd element-The point of view

The story is told in third person omniscient narration. This serves the story well because the five sections are told from the point of view of different characters.

  • Section I-Bobinot and his son are at the store discussing the storm. The little boy worries that his mother will be alone. Bobinot decides he will bring some shrimp to Calixta probably to smooth over his being gone during the storm
  • Section II-This section belongs to Calixta. This section begins and ends with the storm. It also introduces the reader to Alcee who rides in on his horse asking for shelter from the storm. The storm’s intensity rises, and the passions of the two former lovers do as well consummating in a passionate sexual encounter.

“Do you remember in Assumption, Calixta?” he asked in a low voice broken by passion. Oh, she remembered; for in Assumption he had kissed her and kissed her; until his senses would well-nigh fail, and to save her he would resort to a desperate fight.

  • Section III- Bobinot and Bibi walk home anxious about Calixta and her reaction to them being gone during the storm. Bibi gets his good clothes muddy and the father wonders what Calixta will say when they arrive home. When they get to the house, Calixta is in good humor. Both of the males---father and son—are able to relax and enjoy themselves.
  • Section IV-Alcee writes his wife and tells her to stay longer on her vacation. His letter expresses his love for her and his children. He would endure being without them for a few more days.
  • Section V-Clarisse, Alcee’s wife, receives the letter from her husband and finds it surprisingly sweet and loving. She was glad that she would be able to stay longer. She was glad to have the time away from their intimate sexual lives.

At the end of the story, everyone is happy!

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What strategies like word choice, repetition, and simile in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin relate to its theme?

Chopin establishes a foreboding or threatening mood in the first paragraph, when the narrator describes the clouds as "sombre" and as "rolling with sinister intention." In addition to their menacing appearance, they are also "accompanied by a sullen, threatening roar." This mood helps to foreshadow not only the literal storm but also the metaphorical storm of passion that erupts between Calixta and Alcee. It, too, could threaten the people in the story but in a very different way than the storm outside. The story, in part, conveys the theme that passion can erupt as quickly and in as dramatic a fashion as a storm; it can also, however, pass as quickly as such a storm. The story presents passion as an extremely powerful force as well as one that is easily spent and short-lived. Chopin's presentation of the storm helps to illuminate these ideas.

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What strategies like word choice, repetition, and simile in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin relate to its theme?

Among Kate Chopin's word choices is the dialect of the Acadians of Louisiana; this is a technique of the "local color" or regionalism movement of the late nineteenth century. In the story's opening scene, Bibi, who is concerned about his mother as a storm approaches, tells his father, Bobinôt, "No; she ent got Sylvie. Sylvie was helpin' her yistiday" to emphasize his belief that Calixta is at home alone.

Chopin utilizes repetition in the many times she uses the word "storm" in the story.  It is literal, as it is a crucial part of the setting of the story.  Bibi and Bobinôt are stranded at Friedheimer's store because of it, and Alcée takes shelter with Calixta because of it.  It is also a metaphor for the moments of passion that overtake Calixta and Alcée.

"Her lips were as red and moist as pomegranate seed" is a simile Chopin uses to describe how Alcée sees Calixta in their moments of intimacy.  

If a theme of "The Storm" is the presentation of sexual attraction as a force of nature, the repeated use of the word "storm" is very useful as a metaphor for the charged atmosphere when Calixta and Alcée meet. The use of the Acadian dialect that Bibi, Calixta, and Bobinôt speak and the contrasting Creole background of Alcée suggests that sexual attraction recognizes no cultural or social boundaries.  And the simile of Calixta's lips compared to another product of nature helps to illustrate the elemental attraction that flows between Calixta and Alcée.  

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