Female Protagonists In The Storm And A Respectable Woman

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In the short stories, “The Storm” and “A Respectable Woman”, Kate Chopin tells the story of two different women who experience different versions of their own sexual awakenings. The protagonists break through boundaries set by a chauvinistic society. The females in these stories were pressured to act in a certain manner within these boundaries and could not do what they desired or yearned for sexually. Therefore, these women stepped out of the social conformity and expressed their innate sexuallity. In both “The Storm” and “A Respectable Woman”, The main female protagonists exert control over their sexuality and play major roles within their marriages. By playing these major roles, consequently, the male protagonists are respectful, of the…show more content…
The varying treatment of the women mostly depends on whether or not the male character is the female character’s husband or not; however, the personality of the male characters and the relationship that they have with the female characters are also factors of this variation. In Alcee’s case, he knows Calixta from his past, but Gouvernail and Mrs. Baroda have never met prior to the events that take place in the story. Naturally, this results in Alcee being more comfortable around Calixta then Gouvernail would be around Mrs. Baroda. “His manner was as courteous toward her as the most exacting woman could require; but he made no direct appeal to her approval or even esteem” (Respectable Woman, 1). Being that Mrs. Baroda is a stranger to Gouvernail, and also married, he is very respectable towards her and there is nothing visibly sexual about his behavior. He does not give off the impression of having any motives and there is no indication that he is looking to be admired for his courtesy. On the other hand, since Alcee already knows Calixta, he is more tender towards her and fond of her. However, although Alcee and Calixta previously knew each other, Alcee is not any less respectful than Gouvernail. Alcee expressed his courtesy in the act of protecting/preserving Calixta’s virtue back when they knew each other in Assumption. “[Her] defenselessness had made her defense, against which honor forbade him to prevail” (The Storm, 3). Alcee could have taken advantage of Calixta because of her vulnerability in the past. Despite that, instead of using her, her inability to defend herself made him want to defend her even more so, not use her like some men would. In the era in which these stories were written, women were generally shamed for being sexual, especially after becoming a mother. The women in these stories, in

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