Arguably, conflict is one of the most elaborate literary devices that Kate Chopin uses in her literary work The Storm. Precisely, the story revolves around both internal and external conflict which are uniquely substantiated in the story through the behaviors that are upheld by the different characters. Notably, the central conflict can be said to internal and is evidently mirrored by the storm. As Chopin portrays it, Alcee and Calixta who were formerly in love, face an internal form of conflict when they are trapped in the same house during the storm. As expected, the two, who are now married to other people, are to be committed in their marriages, but instead, they really desire each other. On the other hand, Calixtas husband, Bobinot, and son, Bibi, face external conflict when they are both trapped in the store due to the same treacherous storm. Therefore, Chopin skilfully uses both internal and external conflict as important literary tools both for plot development and as an illustration of the fundamental problems that characterized humans in her era.
Firstly, through the different instances of conflict in this story, Chopin substantiates that the immoral behavior of her characters is hidden behind the fear of the storm. Notably, the author initially tries to convince her audience that Calixta is a primary victim of the treacherous storm. However, despite the fact that Calixta begins to get worried about the whereabouts of her son and husband, this does not stop her from involving herself in the adulterous act with Alcee. Based on this particular context, the conflict that is mirrored by the storm substantially contributes to the plot of the story (White, 2014). This is evidenced in the story where the author describes the seriousness of the storm, the rain was coming down  the very boards they stood upon thus, as the author builds up the plot, it is evident that the storm was not only scary for Calixta but was also destructive. Destructive not only to the characters property but was also destructive of the faith and trust on which the characters marriages were based.
Similarly, the internal conflict that is best substantiated when Calixta and Alcee find themselves together again, despite the fact that they both have been married for years, helps in the development of the plot. By providing the terrible storm, the author creates an ingenious setting for this particular meeting. The internal conflict that is depicted in this particular instance effectively helps in the plot development in the sense that, the storm is not only natural, but is also as powerful as the characters passions. Particularly, as Calixta and Alcee make love, the thunder that was accompanying the storm crashes and elements roar. Besides, as the storm climaxes, so does their physical desires for each other and eventually, the passing of the storm is an indication of their physical exhaustion. Similar to the storm which immediately passes and the sun emerges, turning the glistening green world into a palace of gems, both Alcee and Calixta are filled with joy and excitement after fulfilling their sexual desires.
Based on this story, Chopin skilfully points various fundamental problems of being human. Firstly, through the story, Chopin seems to be contending that humans highly favor desire and their human passion over the cost of their marriages. In the case of Calixta, Chopin depicts her adulterous act with Alcee as much enjoyable and liberating since she perceived it as more satisfying than sex with her own husband. More specifically, the author points out that it is with Alcee that her firm, elastic flesh knew for the first time its birth right. Additionally, according to Chopin, the nature of human beings is depicted as hypocritical since the adultery act does not end in tragedy as expected. Instead, quite the opposite happens, and instead of Babinot and his son finding Calixta traumatized by the storm, they find her high in spirit, and she warmly welcomes them. Evidently, she is genuinely happy to be reunited with her family after the serious storm, primarily because her sexual desires had been met by Alcee and therefore, she was in a position to share her newfound joy with others.
Additionally, another fundamental problem of being human is evidenced by the internal conflict that is substantiated by both Calixta and Alcee. As soon as the ferocious storms blow up, Alcees and Calixtas passion for each other begins. In the development of the plot, the actions of this adulterous act are also emphasized by the flashes of thunder. The rain was coming down in sheets obscuring the view of far-off cabins and enveloping the distant wood in a gray mistthe playing of the lightning was incessant (Chopin, 1974). Based on this context, conflict is depicted when the author does not portray the sexual desires of the two married parties as a mistake, and the storm does not signify betrayal but instead serves as a powerful symbol of passion. Besides, the passion was a feeling which both Alcee and Calixta did not experience in their marriages any longer.
Also, after committing the Adulterous act, the storm immediately stops. This accentuates both Alcees and Calixtas inner states of happiness and also depicts the environment around the two as a more colorful. In this regard, Chopin ironically portrays a blissful moment after the storm. Usually, it is expected that a treacherous storm, which in this case provides both Alcee and Calixta, a chance to cheat on their spouses, would be destructive. Instead, as the plot of the story develops, the author makes her audience believe that the storm marked the beginning of considerable changes in the lives of the two. Particularly, they enjoy their lives more than they did before the encounter.
Besides, despite the fact that Calixta was known to be overly frightened by the storm, she is portrayed as a happy person although her husband thought that she would be worried sick. Thus, in this regard, the joy and the fulfillment of the two indicates that a secret affair which involved the betrayal of ones spouse is what made them happier than a trustworthy marriage. Based on this context, the author illustrates that one of the fundamental problems that characterized humans in her era was dishonesty. This is because it was evident that although people were married, they were not necessarily happy and for this reason, they would pursue happiness elsewhere (Benson, 2009).
In conclusion, through the development of the storys plot, Chopin seems to contend that adultery is only justified when it is indispensable. Thus, for two married people to have a healthy relationship, each person should be fulfilling to the wants and desires of their spouse. Thus, through her intensive use of conflict as an essential aspect of the plot development, Chopin gives her reader the understanding of what was fundamentally wrong with human beings back in the 19th century.
Benson, H. H. (2009). A companion to Plato. Malden: Blackwell Pub.
Chopin, K. (1974). The storm, and other stories: With The awakening. Old Westbury, NY: Feminist Press.
White, M. D. (2010, March 24). Adultery: Is It Ever Justified? | Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/maybe-its-just-me/201003/adultery-is-it-ever-justified
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