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Comparison of “The Storm” and “The Bridges of Madison County”

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The story by Kate Chopin “The Storm” reminded me so much of the book “The Bridges of Madison County” by Robert James Waller. The characters are set in a place isolated from their families so that they have the freedom to interact. In Chopin’s work she has the storm keeping the husband and young son from coming home which also causes the former lover to have to come in the house because it is raining so hard. In Waller’s story the husband and son are away at the County Fair for several days with the wife at home alone. The photographer comes in asking directions to a woman alone. Both stories highlight women having sex with someone who is not their husbands. Chopin’s work tells us that this man is a former lover.

While Waller’s story gives us insight into the woman, as wanting more from her life, she is entranced by the photographer’s worldliness something she desired when she married her husband. The stories of travel and far places capture this woman’s imagination and heart. The story Chopin shows us is of a woman sewing in a her house unaware of the storm until the water and thunder catch her attention. She is drawn away easily by a former lover riding up on his horse. There is no mention of their relationship, only a quick note about their previous encounter. The feelings of Calixta are not discussed. The only feeling we see are the man’s feeling toward her. In contrast, Waller goes into detail the feelings of his woman character. Giving her a full range of emotions, from fear to love, from desire to propriety; Waller is inviting us into her dilemma.

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