About a month ago, my wife and I joined a group of our closest friends for dinner. Over some very refreshing margaritas we found ourselves engaged in a rather heated, yet equally stimulating discussion regarding human sexuality and more specifically the elements that separate us from the animals. Upon reading "The Storm" by Kate Chopin, I found myself relaying many thoughts I had that night along with some deeply embedded feelings regarding marriage and trust. Most importantly I found myself torn between the immediate scorns I felt for Calixta while at the same time recalling my argument to our friends that within the bowels of every person lays the basic, animalistic desire to procreate with multiple partners. It is the suppression of this urge that allows for trusting, bonding, safe, relationships we call marriages and ultimately what divides our sexuality from those of our wild cohabitants. Obviously, Chopin's piece was intended for a specific audience who would perceive the affair as "sexually liberating" for Calixta, leading to a healthier marriage with Bobinot .Baloney! The story to me, although compellingly written is nothing more than a bimbo doing what bimbos do.
Chopin's use of symbolism and irony coupled with the histrionics of the storm and our two lovers, only acts to support the true trickery and deceit that lies hidden at the end of the story. "The leaves were so still that even Bibi thought it was going to rain"; an effective allusion to the calm before a storm, Chopin uses to instantly give the reader a sense of foreboding events to come. Within the first paragraph she also paints Bobinot as a simple, stoic man firmly situated beneath the overbearing thumb of his wife, another hint at the author's radically feministic views for the time period. As the storm gathers strength, Chopin uses it to symbolize Calixta's growing need for passion and brewing sexual discontent just waiting for the first opportunity to explode.