The Role Of Marriage In The Storm, By Kate Chopin

Throughout history, the institution of marriage has been widely criticized as oppressive in many aspects, especially in regards to women. In the late nineteenth century, women did not have equal legal rights and when married they lost ownership of their possessions to their husbands. Women who were married off into affluent or middle class families during this time period were destined to a life of servitude to her husband and children, and were forbidden from any social and legal freedoms or to become involved in external affairs. Author Kate Chopin, who lived during this era, wrote various stories on how marriage is oppressive to women. She broke social norms by “walking about the village and city alone,” and not remarrying after her husband …show more content…
The main character Calixta is home alone, while her husband and son are waiting for the storm to pass at a nearby store. Calixta’s former lover takes refuge in her home during the storm and they have an illicit, brief affair, and soon after he leaves Calixta goes back to being the perfect housewife to her family. Kate Chopin’s short story, “The Storm” illustrates how the institution of marriage is oppressive to women.
Calixta’s housewife role in her marriage oppresses her from living the life she desires. Calixta is very committed to tending to her family and keeping a home, and this is evident with her concern for the laundry when it rains and how she returns to her happy housewife demeanor when her family arrives home. The extensive amount of housework marriage required during this time period-isolated women from having time to do anything besides maintaining a household. Alcée’s wife Clarisse who is on vacation without her husband “ for the first free breath since her marriage seemed to restore the pleasant liberty of her maiden days” (Chopin 131). Marriage and the responsibilities it brings are so burdensome on woman that
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Calixta’s utmost concern throughout the story is making sure the household is acceptable for her family and providing them with a comfortable environment when they arrive home. Once she figures out a dangerous storm is brewing she collects her husband’s clothes so they don’t get wet, but this takes precedence over her safety. “Out on the small front gallery she had hung Bobinot’s Sunday clothes to air and she hastened out to gather them before the rain fell” (Chopin 128). Calixta is risking her wellbeing to gather her husband’s clothes so they don’t get wet or misplaced during the storm. In marriage, regardless of a woman’s safety her job is to ensure that her husband and family are taken care of. This demeans the wife’s value and dignity because marriage oppresses her into a position where she is subservient to the family. Additionally, a famous drawing of a perfectly proportioned woman during the late 19th century dubbed the Gibson Girl was seen as “every woman’s ideal” and her partner, the Gibson Man made them the “perfect couple.” The Gibson girl wore a “corset, stiff waist shirt, and a long flowy skirt that bustled.” Her hair was curled and put into a chignon, and her appearance exuded femininity and delicacy. Her eyes are droopy and face is placid revealing no clues about herself or her inner feelings. Women sought to emulate the persona

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