“The Storm,” by Kate Chopin, revolves around an illicit rendezvous between two former lovers: Calixta and Alcee. It was unplanned, unexpected, and (purely?) accidental as they seek shelter from the storm.
They flee inside, seeking refuge in the home that Calixta shares with her husband and 4-year-old son, as the storm descends in all its fury. There, they are inundated by the power of the storm, but also with the memories of their former relationship.
“The playing of the lightning was incessant. A bolt struck a tall chinaberry tree at the edge of the field. It filled all visible space with a blinding glare and the crash seemed to invade the very boards they stood upon.”
As the storm intensifies, so too does the emotion indoors. As Chopin says: “He looked down into her eyes and there was nothing for him to do but to gather her lips in a kiss. It reminded him of Assumption.”
- They’re consumed. It’s an undulating ripple, as though they’re plunging in… with reckless abandon, but also with the full certainty that it will not affect her relationship with her husband, Bobinot. Her family will never know.
- She’s “free”. It’s a fling without consequence, but it also appears to say more about her relationship with her husband than she may realize. She called it “the first free breath since her marriage…” as though her relationship was somehow stifling.
- Brief moment of revelation. In typical Chopin fashion, she sheds light on an episode in the lives of her character, which reveals more than the sum of the rest of their days would have.
In the world of Kate Chopin, this is a steamy, un-entangled romance–just a quick summer storm. “So the storm passed and every one was happy.”