The Storm by Kate Chopin is a story of two people who are already married with their respective partners but still looked for happiness from other persons- their respective paramours. Both Calixta and Alcee know that they are both married and should be settled in their respective lives. However, they still had a sexual encounter one day when Calixta was left all by herself in their house while her husband and her son were stranded somewhere because of the storm. In this story, the storm symbolizes both the physical circumstances that the characters were experiencing and the passionate encounter that happened between the paramours.
I think that the love affair of Calixta and Alcee is nothing else but wrong both for the two of them and their respective families. It is noticed that during the sexual encounter, both are not with their respective partners. Calixta’s husband Bobinot’s whereabouts cannot be ascertained because of the storm that might have endangered his life.
Calixta was in her vulnerable state because apart from being alone she does not know what just happened to her husband. In the words of Chopin: “Calixta put her hands in her eyes, and with a cry, staggered backward.
Alcee’s arm encircled her, and for an instant he drew her close and spasmodically to him (1993)”. In other words, she was trying to find happiness and comfort during these times that Alcee was there at the right moment. At the same time, Alcee’s wife was also far away from him with their children. This suggests the same argument already mentioned. The same as Calixta, Alcee is also yearning for happiness and comfort that his wife cannot give because of the distance. My disagreement to the love affair of the two can be explained by Dennis Prager’s The Missing Tile Syndrome.
Prager asserted that “In life there will always be tiles missing (1995)”. He said that life could never be complete no matter how we wanted it to be or no matter how we strive for it. The missing tiles in our lives are likened to something or someone that we wanted to have; we cannot help but think about it all the time. The analogy goes like this: when we look up at the ceiling, whenever there is a missing tile, we tend to focus on that missing spot on the verge of getting fixated into it.
Because of this, the two characters tend to focus on the absence of their partners that they find themselves unhappy and uncomfortable. Moreover, they are prone to making mistakes as Prager has mentioned “People act more decently when they are happy (1993)”. When they aren’t, they tend to veer towards the bad side. Moreover, the love affair would lead to pain and suffering of their respective families. This is because even when the ending of the story says “So the storm passed and every one was happy (Chopin, 1993)” suggests a resolution to the problem, I believe it is otherwise.
The reconciliation of Calixta and her husband does not count as a happily ever after marriage because what was being presented were only intentions and not actions. Prager wrote that “what we do, not what we intend, is what counts (1995)”. He asserted there is no way we can ascertain motive because it is a state of the mind. The love of Calixta to her husband was not shown when she merely said, “Oh Bonibot! You too good fo’ anything”. At the same time, the letter that were sent by Alcee to his wife were also manifestations of intention and not actions which were likewise unreliable.
“Alcee Laballiere wrote to his wife, Clarisse, that night. It was a loving letter, full of tender solicitude (Chopin, 1993)”. Even with this, we cannot be sure of the love and devotion of Alcee to his wife. This suggests that their respective families may be in danger of falling apart because the actions of love and passion by Calixta and Alcee are not for their respective partners and families but for somebody else.
References Chopin, K. (1993). “The Storm”. Nineteen-Century Stories by Women. USA: Broadview Press. Prager, D. (1995). Think a Second Time. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press.