Chopin the storm 1. “The Storm” is written as a sequel. Do you believe it can stand alone? Why or why not? 2. Does Bobinot love Calixta? If so, how does h

Chopin the storm 1. “The Storm” is written as a sequel. Do you believe it can stand alone? Why or why not?

2. Does Bobinot love Calixta? If so, how does he show it?

3. Does Calixta love Bobinot? If so, how does she show it?

4. Chopin writes that “there was nothing for [Alcee] to do but to gather her lips in a kiss.” True?

5. Why does Calixta show little or no guilt about her act of adultery? Do you believe it will be repeated? 1
Kate Chopin (1850-1904)
The Storm (1898)
The leaves were so still that even Bibi thought it was going to rain. Bobinôt, who was
accustomed to converse on terms of perfect equality with his little son, called the child‟s
attention to certain sombre clouds that were rolling with sinister intention from the west,
accompanied by a sullen, threatening roar. They were at Friedheimer‟s store and decided to
remain there till the storm had passed. They sat within the door on two empty kegs. Bibi was
four years old and looked very wise.
“Mama‟ll be „fraid, yes,” he suggested with blinking eyes.
“She‟ll shut the house. Maybe she got Sylvie helpin‟ her this evenin‟,” Bobinôt
responded reassuringly.
“No; she ent got Sylvie. Sylvie was helpin‟ her yistiday,” piped Bibi.
Bobinôt arose and going across to the counter purchased a can of shrimps, of which
Calixta was very fond. Then he returned to his perch on the keg and sat stolidly holding the can
of shrimps while the storm burst. It shook the wooden store and seemed to be ripping great
furrows in the distant field. Bibi laid his little hand on his father‟s knee and was not afraid.
Calixta, at home, felt no uneasiness for their safety. She sat at a side window sewing
furiously on a sewing machine. She was greatly occupied and did not notice the approaching
storm. But she felt very warm and often stopped to mop her face on which the perspiration
gathered in beads. She unfastened her white sacque at the throat. It began to grow dark, and
suddenly realizing the situation she got up hurriedly and went about closing windows and doors.
Out on the small front gallery she had hung Bobinôt‟s Sunday clothes to dry and she
hastened out to gather them before the rain fell. As she stepped outside, Alcée Laballière rode in
at the gate. She had not seen him very often since her marriage, and never alone. She stood there
with Bobinôt‟s coat in her hands, and the big rain drops began to fall. Alcée 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.
“May I come and wait on your gallery till the storm is over, Calixta?” he asked.
“Come „long in, M‟sieur Alcée.”
His voice and her own startled her as if from a trance, and she seized Bobinôt‟s vest.
Alcée, mounting to the porch, grabbed the trousers and snatched Bibi‟s braided jacket that was
about to be carried away by a sudden gust of wind. He expressed an intention to remain outside,
but it was soon apparent that he might as well have been out in the open: the water beat in upon
the boards in driving sheets, and he went inside, closing the door after him. It was even necessary
to put something beneath the door to keep the water out.
“My! what a rain! It‟s good two years since it rain‟ like that,” exclaimed Calixta as she
rolled up a piece of bagging and Alcée helped her to thrust it beneath the crack.
She was a little fuller of figure than five years before when she married; but she had lost
nothing of her vivacity. Her blue eyes still retained their melting quality; and her yellow hair,
dishevelled by the wind and rain, kinked more stubbornly than ever about her ears and temples.
The rain beat upon the low, shingled roof with a force and clatter that threatened to break
an entrance and deluge them there. They were in the dining room—the sitting room—the general
utility room. Adjoining was her bed room, with Bibi‟s couch alongside her own. The door stood
open, and the room with its white, monumental bed, its closed shutters, looked dim and
Alcée flung himself into a rocker and Calixta nervously began to gather up from the floor
the lengths of a cotton sheet which she had been sewing.
“If this keeps up, Dieu sait if the levees goin‟ to stan it!” she exclaimed.
“What have you got to do with the levees?”
“I got enough to do! An‟ there‟s Bobinôt with Bibi out in that storm—if he only didn‟ left
“Let us hope, Calixta, that Bobinôt‟s got sense enough to come in out of a cyclone.”
She went and stood at the window with a greatly disturbed look on her face. She wiped
the frame that was clouded with moisture. It was stiflingly hot. Alcée got up and joined her at the
window, looking over her shoulder. The rain was coming down in sheets obscuring the view of
far-off cabins and enveloping the distant wood in a gray mist. The playing of the lightning was
incessant. A bolt struck a tall chinaberry tree at the edge of the field. It filled all visible space
with a blinding glare and the crash seemed to invade the very boards they stood upon.
Calixta put her hands to her eyes, and with a cry, staggered backward. Alcée‟s arm
encircled her, and for an instant he drew her close and spasmodically to him.
“Bonté!” she cried, releasing herself from his encircling arm and retreating from the
window, “the house‟ll go next! If I only knew w‟ere Bibi was!” She would not compose herself;
she would not be seated. Alcée clasped her shoulders and looked into her face. The contact of her
warm, palpitating body when he had unthinkingly drawn her into his arms, had aroused all the
old-time infatuation and desire for her flesh.
“Calixta,” he said, “don‟t be frightened. Nothing can happen. The house is too low to be
struck, with so many tall trees standing about. There! aren‟t you going to be quiet? say, aren‟t
you?” He pushed her hair back from her face that was warm and steaming. Her lips were as red
and moist as pomegranate seeds. Her white neck and a glimpse of her full, firm bosom disturbed
him powerfully. 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. He looked down into her eyes and
there was nothing for him to do but to gather her lips in a kiss. It reminded him of Assumption.
“Do you remember—in Assumption, Calixta?” he asked in a low voice broken by
passion. Oh! she remembered; for in Assumption he had kissed her and kissed her; until his
senses would well nigh fail, and to save her he would resort to a desperate flight. If she was not
an immaculate dove in those days, she was still inviolate; a passionate creature whose very
defenselessness had made her defense, against which his honor forbade him to prevail. Now—
well, now—her lips seemed in a manner free to be tasted, as well as her round, white throat and
her whiter breasts.
They did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as
she lay in his arms. She was a revelation in that dim, mysterious chamber; as white as the couch
she lay upon. Her firm, elastic flesh that was knowing for the first time its birthright, was like a
creamy lily that the sun invites to contribute its breath and perfume to the undying life of the
The generous abundance of her passion, without guile or trickery, was like a white flame
which penetrated and found response in depths of his own sensuous nature that had never yet
been reached.
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.
He stayed cushioned upon her, breathless, dazed, enervated, with his heart beating like a
hammer upon her. With one hand she clasped his head, her lips lightly touching his forehead.
The other hand stroked with a soothing rhythm his muscular shoulders.
The growl of the thunder was distant and passing away. The rain beat softly upon the
shingles, inviting them to drowsiness and sleep. But they dared not yield.
The rain was over; and the sun was turning the glistening green world into a palace of
gems. Calixta, on the gallery, watched Alcée ride away. He turned and smiled at her with a
beaming face; and she lifted her pretty chin in the air and laughed aloud.
Bobinôt and Bibi, trudging home, stopped without at the cistern to make themselves
“My! Bibi, w‟at will yo‟ mama say! You ought to be ashame‟. You oughta‟ put on those
good pants. Look at „em! An‟ that mud on yo‟ collar! How you got that mud on yo‟ collar, Bibi?
I never saw such a boy!” Bibi was the picture of pathetic resignation. Bobinôt was the
embodiment of serious solicitude as he strove to remove from his own person and his son‟s the
signs of their tramp over heavy roads and through wet fields. He scraped the mud off Bibi‟s bare
legs and feet with a stick and carefully removed all traces from his heavy brogans. Then,
prepared for the worst—the meeting with an over-scrupulous housewife, they entered cautiously
at the back door.
Calixta was preparing supper. She had set the table and was dripping coffee at the hearth.
She sprang up as they came in.
“Oh, Bobinôt! You back! My! but I was uneasy. W‟ere you been during the rain? An‟
Bibi? he ain‟t wet? he ain‟t hurt?” She had clasped Bibi and was kissing him effusively.
Bobinôt‟s explanations and apologies which he had been composing all along the way, died on
his lips as Calixta felt him to see if he were dry, and seemed to express nothing but satisfaction at
their safe return.
“I brought you some shrimps, Calixta,” offered Bobinôt, hauling the can from his ample
side pocket and laying it on the table.
“Shrimps! Oh, Bobinôt! you too good fo‟ anything!” and she gave him a smacking kiss
on the cheek that resounded, “J’vous réponds, we‟ll have a feas‟ to-night! umph-umph!”
Bobinôt and Bibi began to relax and enjoy themselves, and when the three seated
themselves at table they laughed much and so loud that anyone might have heard them as far
away as Laballière‟s.
Alcée Laballière wrote to his wife, Clarisse, that night. It was a loving letter, full of
tender solicitude. He told her not to hurry back, but if she and the babies liked it at Biloxi, to stay
a month longer. He was getting on nicely; and though he missed them, he was willing to bear the
separation a while longer—realizing that their health and pleasure were the first things to be
As for Clarisse, she was charmed upon receiving her husband‟s letter. She and the babies
were doing well. The society was agreeable; many of her old friends and acquaintances were at
the bay. And the first free breath since her marriage seemed to restore the pleasant liberty of her
maiden days. Devoted as she was to her husband, their intimate conjugal life was something
which she was more than willing to forego for a while.
So the storm passed and everyone was happy.

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