Symbolism in “The Storm” “The Storm”, written by Kate Chopin in 1898, examines the uncontrollable desires of a young wife, lured into the arms of her past lover as her husband and son are caught in a storm. Bobinot and four-year-old Bibi are running errands when the storm suddenly hit. Bobinot’s wife, Calixta was at home sewing when she noticed the severe storm happening outside. When Calixta went outside to gather some clothing, her old lover Alcee asked for shelter during the storm. Through her use of symbolism, Chopin gives the reader her feelings on the love affair between Calixta and Alcee.
Chopin’s uses symbolism in her use of different colors throughout the story. The color white is mentioned multiple times in the story. White symbolizes light, purity, and innocence. Calixta’s neck and breasts are described as being white, which means that she is a very pure person. Calixta and Bobinot’s bed is a white, monumental bed. This suggests that their marriage is loveless and passionless. She refers to the passion between them as a white flame. In addition to these meanings, the white is also symbolic as the hottest part of a flame. Their passion was an overwhelming force, too powerful for them to control.
Red means passion, anger, blood and disorder. Alcee notices Calixta’s red lips as he is comforting her about the storm. Her red lips are a symbol of all the disorder in her life and in the storm, as well as the passion that is sparking between her and Alcee. When the rain is over and Alcee is leaving his lover, the world is green and the sun is shining. Green means hope, growth, and fertility. The sun symbolizes enlightenment and wisdom. By the two of them walking into this green world where the sun is shining, it is as if their love affair is acceptable.
The storm itself is very symbolic in this story. The storm is parallel to their tryst and also to the internal battle in Calixta. The storm sets the scene for their love affair and is full of intensity and exhilaration as it rages outside. The reader can sense the wildness that is taking place inside and outside Calixta’s home. But, in the midst of the mayhem there is a sense of peace and harmony within the walls of her home. When Alcee first arrives at Calixta’s home, the rain has just started getting bad. The sexual tension etween the two of them heightens when lightning strikes a tree and scares Calixta. This causes her to throw herself into Alcee’s arms for protection. While they are in the throes of passion, the rain reaches its full force. By the time Alcee and Calixta have finished their affair, the rain has stopped and the storm has moved on. It seems as though the rain has washed away their sin of adultery, because when they walk outside the world is shiny and bright. All this time, Bobinot and Bibi have been waiting at the store. When the storm finally passes, they are able to go home.
On their way, Bobinot is afraid that his wife will be angry with him for taking so long at the store and for not being presentable. To his surprise, when they come in the backdoor, Calixta is fixing dinner and is in a wonderful mood. She checks them over to make sure they are dry and unharmed. She seems genuinely happy to see her husband and son. However, when Bobinot gives her the treat he picked up for her; she only kisses him on the cheek to show her gratitude. This reinforces the suspicion that they are in a loveless or passionless marriage.