The Storm’s Socio-cultural Setting: Louisiana.
Written in 1898 but published 70 years later, The Storm obviously creates a huge hurricane in the publication process. Kate Chopin who was famous as a feminist author bravely discussed adultery in this short story. However, the society was not open to this and the publication is delayed for a very long time and it’s finally published 65 years after Kate’s death. The background of this story is based on Louisiana in the late 80’s where Catholic influences was predominant. Throughout this story, Kate’s milieu largely affecting it in many aspects.
Kate Chopin highlighted Catholicism in this story. However, she rendered adultery which is a sin that could bring to divorcement according to the Catholic Law. Louisiana’s population generally is catholic and the society was opposed to adultery, rationale for delayed publication of The Storm. Kate had her education in The Sacred Heart Academy, she mentioned Assumption which is a Catholic village and the honor of a man prevent himself from fornication because Assumption is related to purity and virginity and Mary’s ascent to heaven after her death. Yet, the author was being sarcastic when the man don’t stop himself from adultery in Louisiana.
Louisiana is closely related to France and Spain. Before Louisiana become a part of The States ,it was claimed by France and named after King Louis XIV in 1682. Later , Spain gains control of Louisiana from The Treaty of Fontainebleau in1762. However, in 1800, Louisiana territory was yield to France again and purchased by United States for 15 million dollars .This explains the different dialect used by the characters which were Creoles and Acadian, the descendants of the 17th century French Creole Group. The way the characters spoke also different according to their social class.
In addition, this story is actually a sequel of “At the Cadian’s Ball” , where agriculture hugely stressed throughout the story. Louisiana’s residents were mostly farmers. Many fields were mentioned in this story as they practiced agriculture thus clarify the background in The Storm. The field that was visible through the windows where they saw a tall chinaberry tree struck at the edge of a field and the harrows that piled up at the side of Calixta’s house are evidence of their lifestyles.
In 1898 ,Atlantic hurricane season had happened and Louisiana was hit by hurricane in 20th September ,later the wind dispersed over Illinois on 22nd September. The storm’s speed was 60 mph and its fit perfectly the setting in this story where the author emphasized how bad the storm was. The author folds many events during The Storm and ended the story with “So the storm passed and everyone was happy” without revealing the happiness that was described lied on the foundation of a hidden wicked act. Kate Chopin’s story touched the sensitivity line but it does told the truth of life reality.