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Themes

"The Storm" is risqué by any generation's standards, but particularly for the time it was written, at the end of the 19th century. With one exception, the characters are all sexualized, mature, knowing adults. By discovering amazing sex outside their marriages, Calixta and Alcée return to those marriages renewed. Surprisingly, the author seems to condone the adultery. The characters aren't punished, and in the end "every one was happy." Fresh sexuality and desire stomps through their lives just like the storm rages through a single day. Even though it doesn't leave any tangible evidence behind, its effects will linger.

Questions About Sex

  1. In what ways does this story seem explicit? Are there elements in it besides its sexuality that seem shocking?
  2. What kind of lover is Alcée?
  3. What different attitudes do the characters seem to have towards sex, as opposed to love? Do they treat sex and love the same or differently?
  4. Do you think Calixta feels guilty about having sex with Alcée? Why or why not?
  5. Why do you think Calixta only becomes scared of the storm after Alcée's arrival at her home?
  6. Do you think Alcée has any ulterior motives when he writes to his wife at the end of the story? If so, what are they?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

For Chopin, love and sexual desire are not the same thing.

In "The Storm," a good sexual relationship is essential to a happy marriage.

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