The Storm by Kate Chopin
Alcee is also concerned about his family, even though they are away in Biloxi. He writes to his wife telling her that “if she and he babies liked it at Biloxi, to stay a month longer. ” Considering the fact that Kate Chopin wrote this story at the end of the nineteenth century and that she was from Louisiana (which is mostly catholic), it is very shocking that her characters behave in such a way. The “Ten Commandments” state “Thou shall not commit adultery”. One would think that people of the Catholic faith would follow that.
The actions of Calixta and Alcee were purely based on desire and temptation. There were no sentimental feelings or panning involved in this encounter. Alcee just happened to be passing by her house as the storm was starting and needed shelter. However, being alone together triggered old familiar sensations that neither of them could resist. We understand this when Chopin writes that when Alcee touches Calixta’s shoulders in a comforting gesture to reassure her that her son is alright, the contact “had aroused all the old-time infatuation and desire for her flesh”. Calixta feels it as well.
At first there was fear in her eyes, but that was soon replaced by “a drowsy gleam that unconsciously betrayed a sensuous desire”. When the storm is over and Alcee goes home, they both go on with their lives as if nothing happened; they are both hypocrites. Neither of them confesses what they have done, nor do they have any intention of doing so. Calixta is very glad when her son and husband come home. In fact she “clasped Bibi and was kissing him effusively”. If the rest of the story didn’t exist and the reader only started reading the last few paragraphs, we would have a picture f two happy families that were not tainted with adultery. At Calixta’s dinner table, “they laughed much and so loud that anyone might have heard them as far away as Laballiere’s. ” Meanwhile back at his house, Alcee is writing a “loving letter, full of tender solicitude” to his wife in Biloxi. Kate Chopin might have been a bit of a pioneer for being a woman author in the 1880’s to write of characters who behave in this way. In the present day, one who would read this story would be shocked that such immorality was written with such ease.