Realism in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin

Categories: Kate Chopin

First of all, Kate Chopin was one of the most significant writers during the Realist Movement. Chopin is a woman who violates the domestic ideals, in order to portray a realistic approach to the lives of women. Chopin’s short story, “The Storm,” reflects realism by portraying the characters as they are, portraying the events and plot realistically, portraying emotions and feelings that are realistic, substantially and accurately portraying human existence and morality, and portraying the limitations of the characters, which is important overall.

Secondly, “The Storm” portrays realism in various ways. “The Storm” portrays the characters as they are; which makes the story more relatable. The characters’ lives are portrayed unexaggerated, including all aspects whether they are negative or positive. Calixta is portrayed as an average woman and the stereotypical housewife. While Bobinôt and Bibi are away, Calixta spends most of her time sewing, cleaning, and taking care of Bobinôt’s and Bibi’s clothing. She is not heroic and there is nothing extraordinary about her life.

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She is an ordinary individual. Her life is portrayed when the storm begins to approach, “She sat at a side window sewing furiously on a sewing machine.” (Belasco and Johnson 224)

Thirdly, “The Storm” portrays the plot and events realistically. “The Storm” is blatantly packed with sexual sensations and urges. At the time, sexual sensations and urges were not heard of, or spoke about often, in literature. In “The Storm,” the main character, Calixta, has an affair with another married man, Alceé Laballiére.

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Calixta best reflects the realist satisfaction into actual sexual circumstances in the statement, “When he touched her breasts, they gave themselves up in quivering ecstasy, inviting his lips. Her mouth was a fountain of delight. And, when he possessed her, they seemed to swoon together at the very borderland of life’s mystery.” (Belasco and Johnson 226)

Next, “The Storm” portrays emotions and feelings that are realistic. In “The Storm,” Calixta’s sexuality is restrained by the pressure of her marriage and society's perspective on how women should act and behave. She is unaware of her emotions and feelings toward Alceé Laballiére. Her emotions and feelings are portrayed when she is standing at the window with Alceé Laballiére, anxiously waiting for the storm to pass, “As she glanced up at him the fear in her liquid blue eyes had given place to a drowsy gleam that unconsciously betrayed a sensuous desire.” (Belasco and Johnson 226)

Then, “The Storm” substantially and accurately portrays human existence. “The Storm” portrays the characters as being human. The characters are not fairies or other supernatural beings. The characters exist in a world that is a commonplace of their era. While Bobinôt and Bibi are at Friedheimer’s store, waiting for the storm to pass, Calixta is at home sewing and taking care of the household. The environment is portrayed as the typical environment of their era. Calixta and Bobinôt have chickens and live on the typical farmland. Human existence is portrayed when Calixta is outside gathering Bobinôt and Bibi’s clothing before the rain starts to fall, “Alceé rode his horse under the shelter of a side projection where the chickens had huddled and there were plows and a harrow piled up in the corner.” (Belasco and Johnson 225)

Furthermore, “The Storm” substantially and accurately portrays morality. Calixta does not believe she is doing anything wrong by having an affair with Alceé Laballiére. Calixta does not say anything to her husband, Bobinôt, about the affair, so there is not any punishment for Calixta or Alceé Laballiére. Chopin uses the more realistic approach to adultery by expressing, “So the storm passed, and everyone was happy.” This statement from Chopin expresses how adultery happened, yet everyone was happy because they didn’t know about the affair Calixta had with Alceé Laballiére. (Belasco and Johnson 227)

Subsequently, “The Storm,” portrays the limitations that are placed on Calixta by her husband, her family, and by society. The limitations she has are: she is a married woman and she has a child. Her limitations cause her to not have many options available, which has an influence on her actions. She does not have anything else to do, except to sew, while she waits on Bobinôt and Bibi each day. Calixta’s limitations are portrayed when Bobinôt, arrives back at the house, “Oh, Bobinôt! You back! But I was uneasy. W’ere you been during the rain? An’ Bibi? He ain’t wet? He ain’t hurt?” (Belasco and Johnson 227)

In Conclusion, “The Storm,” by Kate Chopin, reflects the dominant intellectual movement of her era, realism. “The Storm” reflects realism by portraying the characters as they are, portraying the events and plot realistically, portraying the characters' feelings and emotions realistically, and portraying human existence and morality. The characters are ordinary individuals with a typical life. The events and plot are realistic, in the sense that infidelity happens often and women experience sexual desires. The characters' feelings and emotions are realistic, in the sense that mixed emotions often intertwine with sexual affairs. Human existence and morality are portrayed. The portrayal of human existence and morality is important because it reveals the truth about the conditions in society and exposes the unfortunate limitations and situations of average humans.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Realism in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin. (2021, Aug 03). Retrieved from

Realism in "The Storm" by Kate Chopin essay
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