In Kate Chopin’s “The Storm”, the protagonist Calixta and her ex-boyfriend Alcée find themselves alone in a house during a storm. During this time, their desires surface and they commit adultery. Chopin uses symbolism in order to show their feelings throughout the story. These symbols include the town Assumption and the color white. However, the central symbol is the storm that takes place through the entirety of the story. The storm best shows Calixta’s and Alcée’s passion that Kate Chopin builds up throughout the story.
In the story, Assumption is a town where Calixta and Alcée once had a relationship. Assumption though is an allusion to an event in religion: Virgin Mary’s elevation into heaven. Thus it implies virginity and chastity. To Calixta and Alcée, it’s a place that reminds them of a time when they were together, but did not have sex due to Alcée’s unwillingness and attempts to “save” her. It’s this memory of Assumption that intensifies their interaction with each other. Another symbol, the color white, is usually used to show purity and innocence. Chopin, however, uses it in an ironic sense to show Calixta’s sexuality and is often used to describe Calixta. She’s depicted, such as, “her round, white throat and her white breasts”. Her body is “like a creamy lily” and her passion is expressed as “like a white flame”.
The storm is a central symbol that constantly occurs till the end of the story. It brings Alcée to Calixta’s home for shelter though the two haven’t seen each other since their marriages. It’s at this point in the story where they meet that the storm also begins to intensify. Here, Chopin repeatedly mentions the severity of the rain pouring down on them and builds up the storm. “The rain beat upon the low, shingled roof with a force and clatter that threatened to break and entrance and deluge them there” and “The rain was coming down in sheets” are examples of this.
The force of the rain shows the tension between Calixta and Alcée. It’s when the lightning reached its extreme that Calixta and Alcée come together. The “bolt that struck a tall chinaberry tree” and “seemed to invade the very boards they stood upon” represent when their feelings are to the fullest. Chopin uses the storm itself to represent the sexual tension and desire between Calixta and Alcée. After their desires are met and fulfilled, the storm ends and “the sun was turning the glistening green world into a palace of gems.