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Castillo; Echeverría; Espinoza 1 Stephanie Castillo, Ana Echeverría, Marisol Espinoza Miss Andrea Campaña Metodología de la Investigación Literaria 1 September 2017 Calixta’s adulterous act as a means to achieve a moment of happiness Marriage, women and the kind of the relationships they could have according to the 1890´s society in Louisiana are completely different from the ones we see in our society nowadays. Women happiness back in those days was tightly connected to their role as housekeepers, wives and mothers. People used to think that woman did not have worries about sexuality or passion. Furthermore, even some doctors thought that way; “the majority of women (happily for them) are not very much troubled by sexual feeling of any kind” (Acton). Their feelings and also their thoughts were not taken into account. Not even in literature women were able to express themselves freely. However, there are few pieces of work where we can have a look of how these women lived, felt and thought. Kate Chopin was a controversial writer whose work used to present very controversial women characters and topics such as female sexuality. In Chopin’s “The Storm” we have a particular female character, Calixta. She is married to Bobinôt and together they have a four- year-old son (Bibi). Although Calixta has everything a woman needed to be happy, according to the time, she did not seem particularly happy about her life. But, despite that Calixta commits adultery her personality changes dramatically. She seems a completely different person after the adulterous act and therefore we can think that Calixta’s adulterous act can be seen as a means to achieve a moment of happiness. As we have mentioned, Calixta did not seem to enjoy her current life. She is portrayed as someone whose preoccupations and duties are far more important than herself. The fact that she performed simple tasks in strange ways can tell us she is not happy, or at least that she is not at ease with it. “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.” (1). The way her husband and child talk about her also sheds light upon Calixta’s unhappiness. They think of her as someone who cares a lot about appearance and strong character. “Bobinôt and Bibi, trudging home, stopped without at the cistern to make themselves Castillo; Echeverría; Espinoza 2 presentable. “My! Bibi, w’at will yo’ mama say! You ought to be ashame’. You oughta’ put on those good pants. Look at ‘em! (...) Then, prepared for the worst—the meeting with an over-scrupulous housewife, they entered cautiously at the back door.” (4). Both expected Calixta to be furious about their appearance, instead, they are surprised by her unconcerned reaction. “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.” (4). These events can be interpreted as evidence of Calixta’s unhappiness, allowing us to think that the life she had was not enough for her. Although there are no literal passages in the text or hints to prove that Calixta did not love Bobinôt, there are certain things that allow us to think there was no passionate love between them. On the one hand, Bobinôt’s worries regarding Calixta are those of a child to a mother instead of a husband to a wife. From ‘The Storm’ we cannot have clues of their relationship as a married couple, however, from ‘At The Cadian Ball’ -Chopin’s previous short story about these characters- we can know that their marriage had an unconventional beginning. She wanted to have something with Alcée while Bobinôt wanted to have something with her. As Alcée was to be married to Clarissa, Calixta settled for marrying Bobinôt since he was the only option she had left. Therefore, Calixta is left with no other choice but to accept Bobinot’s proposal. “Bobinôt grew bold with happiness and asked Calixta to kiss him. She turned her face, that was almost ugly after the night’s dissipation, and looked steadily into his. “I don’ want to kiss you, Bobinôt,” she said, turning away again, “not to-day. Some other time. Bonté divine! Ent you satisfy, yet!” “Oh, I‟m satisfy, Calixta,” he said” (7). Maybe, she started to love him afterwards, or developed a relationship of trust, love and care; but there is no way for us to think they loved each other passionately. On the other hand, based on the setting described, Calixta and Bobinôt shared their room with Bibi which leads to a reduced passionate relationship, and therefore no sexual activity either. They may have “enjoyed” a year -or at least few months- of freedom Castillo; Echeverría; Espinoza 3 before Bibi’s arrival. Hence, all the passion they could have had is lost by their current state. Also, their room is presented as dim and mysterious (2). This marriage had everything but a lover’s relationship that may have lead Calixta to do what she did. Calixta and Alcée have a brief sexual encounter, one they have been waiting for years. This encounter starts and ends during a storm, which represents the resistance that both feel about their sexual satisfaction and necessity of passion. The storm bursts into their lives to make them forget children, husband and wife. This adulterous act breaks with the religiosity and normality of that time, period in which acts like these were synonyms of immorality and sin. But, in the case of the characters, there were not negative consequences, quite the opposite: Both were happy and returned to their normal lives. As Chopin mentioned, “…and when the three seated themselves at table they laughed much and so loud that anyone might have heard them…” (4) referring to Calixta and her family, meanwhile Alcée’s attitude also was peaceful “(He) wrote to his wife, Clarisse, that night. It was a loving letter, full of tender solicitude” (4). Both characters have an inconclusive past love story, which led them to feel a strong mutual attraction when they see each other after a long time. It is clear that Calixta was not happy with her actual life, but she finds physical (passionate) happiness with Alcée in this adulterous act. And that is happiness, just a moment. A moment in which you feel comfortable and satisfied with what you are doing, just like Calixta felt. Was it a right decision to commit this act? Is it correct to be unfaithful? We do not think so. We only say that Calixta’s actions were done because of the pursuit of happiness. She did not think about the consequences or if what she was doing was the right thing, she only did what made her happy at that moment. Finally, according to this essay, two aspects of the story can be concluded. First, the concept that society has about of happiness loses moral value when contrasting with the text, because ambiguity fulfils absolutely everything what can be read in the narration. Therefore, we think that Kate Chopin tries to bend our acquired conception of infidelity that, by agreement within society, adultery is historically rejected. Second, Calixta’s necessity of satisfying a frustration validates her own happiness. In other words, she did it to achieve a moment of happiness. Castillo; Echeverría; Espinoza 4 Works Cited Acton, William. Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs, in Childhood, Youth, Adult Age, and Advanced Life, Considered in the Physiological, Social, and Moral Relations. Philadelphia : Lindsay and Blakiston, 1865. pdf. . Chopin, Kate. At the Cadian Ball. n.d. pdf. 30 08 2017. . —. The Storm. 1898. pdf. 30 08 2017. .