The Role Of Women In Kate Chopin's The Storm

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Kate Chopin’s short story The Storm is an influential literary work from the 19th century. On the surface, it sheds light on the kind of life women had during that time period. Women were overwhelmingly stuck in a domestic rut. They were restricted from many things, even to the extent of a healthy sex life. However, Kate Chopin also brings to life, through the two female characters in the story, the courage and boldness that some women possessed to dispute the values and beliefs of society during the 19th century. These characters do not adhere to the normative standards of their time. While The Storm does highlight the domestic life in which the vast majority of women lived, it also paints a portrait of female individuality.
A common expectation
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When the readers meet her, she is at home by herself working on various household chores, as was expected of females at the time. At the same point in the story, the menacing storm is taking place. Her former lover, Alcée, then pulls up in front of her house on his horse and requests to be let inside to seek shelter from the storm. A seemingly “innocent” act of compassion ends up escalating into something greater, and even risqué. When Calixta expresses her fear of the storm, Alcée wraps his arms around her in hopes of comforting her. This warm, reassuring embrace reminds the both of them of their relationship awhile back in Assumption and reignites the fire between them. He eventually “touche[s] her breasts” (122) and “possesse[s] her,” indicating that the two have partaken into an act of adultery. The idea of gender roles becomes scratched out as both parties willingly engage in the sexual act, rather than the man dominating the woman and the women submissively …show more content…
After the events with Calixta take place, Alcée writes a letter to his wife who is in Biloxi, in which he updates her on his life and tells her that there is no need for her to return home anytime soon. When Clarisse receives this letter, she becomes filled with satisfaction because she is happy spending time away from home. Her decision to remain in Biloxi for another month conveys sentiments of liberation from her role as a housewife. She finds freedom and bliss away from her marriage. Even though seeing her husband would make her happy—because she does genuinely love him—Clarisse is “willing to bear the separation a while longer” (123). She highly values her “health and pleasure” and chooses not to compromise them. The fact that she is willing to stay longer, when given the choice, indicates just how strongly she feels about everything. Clarisse is steadfast in her decision to

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