Barnet, Burto, and Cain for an overview

Barnet, Burto, and Cain for an overview

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Begin by reading pages 1 to 15 in Chapter 1 of your textbook, Introduction to Literature (16th ed.) by
Barnet, Burto, and Cain for an overview of the text.
Then read Kate Chopin’s “The Storm,” (p. 15 in the text and posted below as well); “The Story of an
Hour” also by Kate Chopin ( p. 67); and “The Cat in the Rain” (p. 99) by Ernest Hemingway.”
Be sure both to post on the Discussion link and open the Assignment link to submit this week’s journal
assignment, which is due by next Monday.
“The Storm” (1898)
by Kate Chopin (1851-1904)
I
The leaves were so still that even Bibi thought it was going to rain. Bobinôt, who was accustomed to
converse on terms of perfect equality with his little son, called the child’s attention to certain sombre clouds
that were rolling with sinister intention from the west, accompanied by a sullen, threatening roar. They were
at Friedheimer’s store and decided to remain there till the storm had passed. They sat within the door on
two empty kegs. Bibi was four years old and looked very wise.
“Mama’ll be ‘fraid, yes, he suggested with blinking eyes.
“She’ll shut the house. Maybe she got Sylvie helpin’ her this evenin’,” Bobinôt responded reassuringly.
“No; she ent got Sylvie. Sylvie was helpin’ her yistiday,’ piped Bibi.
Bobinôt arose and going across to the counter purchased a can of shrimps, of which Calixta was very
fond. Then he retumed to his perch on the keg and sat stolidly holding the can of shrimps while the storm
burst. It shook the wooden store and seemed to be ripping great furrows in the distant field. Bibi laid his
little hand on his father’s knee and was not afraid.
II
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. But she felt very warm and
often stopped to mop her face on which the perspiration gathered in beads. She unfastened her white
sacque at the throat. It began to grow dark, and suddenly realizing the situation she got up hurriedly and
went about closing windows and doors.
Out on the small front gallery she had hung Bobinôt’s Sunday clothes to dry and she hastened out to
gather them before the rain fell. As she stepped outside, Alcée Laballière rode in at the gate. She had not
seen him very often since her marriage, and never alone. She stood there with Bobinôt’s coat in her
hands, and the big rain drops began to fall. Alcée rode his horse under the shelter of a side projection
where the chickens had huddled and there were plows and a harrow piled up in the corner.
“May I come and wait on your gallery till the storm is over, Calixta?” he asked.
Come ‘long in, M’sieur Alcée.”
His voice and her own startled her as if from a trance, and she seized Bobinôt’s vest. Alcée, mounting to
the porch, grabbed the trousers and snatched Bibi’s braided jacket that was about to be carried away by a
sudden gust of wind. He expressed an intention to remain outside, but it was soon apparent that he might
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as well have been out in the open: the water beat in upon the boards in driving sheets, and he went inside,
closing the door after him. It was even necessary to put something beneath the door to keep the water out.
“My! what a rain! It’s good two years sence it rain’ like that,” exclaimed Calixta as she rolled up a piece of
bagging and Alcée helped her to thrust it beneath the crack.
She was a little fuller of figure than five years before when she married; but she had lost nothing of her
vivacity. Her blue eyes still retained their melting quality; and her yellow hair, dishevelled by the wind and
rain, kinked more stubbornly than ever about her ears and temples.
The rain beat upon the low, shingled roof with a force and clatter that threatened to break an entrance and
deluge them there. They were in the dining room—the sitting room—the general utility room. Adjoining was
her bed room, with Bibi’s couch along side her own. The door stood open, and the room with its white,
monumental bed, its closed shutters, looked dim and mysterious.
Alcée flung himself into a rocker and Calixta nervously began to gather up from the floor the lengths of a
cotton sheet which she had been sewing.
lf this keeps up, Dieu sait if the levees goin’ to stan it!” she exclaimed.
“What have you got to do with the levees?”
“I got enough to do! An’ there’s Bobinôt with Bibi out in that storm—if he only didn’ left Friedheimer’s!”
“Let us hope, Calixta, that Bobinôt’s got sense enough to come in out of a cyclone.”
She went and stood at the window with a greatly disturbed look on her face. She wiped the frame that was
clouded with moisture. It was stiflingly hot. Alcée got up and joined her at the window, looking over her
shoulder. The rain was coming down in sheets obscuring the view of far-off cabins and enveloping the
distant wood in a gray mist. The playing of the lightning was incessant. A bolt struck a tall chinaberry tree
at the edge of the field. It filled all visible space with a blinding glare and the crash seemed to invade the
very boards they stood upon.
Calixta put her hands to her eyes, and with a cry, staggered backward. Alcée’s arm encircled her, and for
an instant he drew her close and spasmodically to him.
“Bonté!” she cried, releasing herself from his encircling arm and retreating from the window, the house’ll go
next! If I only knew w’ere Bibi was!” She would not compose herself; she would not be seated. Alcée
clasped her shoulders and looked into her face. The contact of her warm, palpitating body when he had
unthinkingly drawn her into his arms, had aroused all the old-time infatuation and desire for her flesh.
“Calixta,” he said, “don’t be frightened. Nothing can happen. The house is too low to be struck, with so
many tall trees standing about. There! aren’t you going to be quiet? say, aren’t you?” He pushed her hair
back from her face that was warm and steaming. Her lips were as red and moist as pomegranate seed. Her
white neck and a glimpse of her full, firm bosom disturbed him powerfully. As she glanced up at him the
fear in her liquid blue eyes had given place to a drowsy gleam that unconsciously betrayed a sensuous
desire. He looked down into her eyes and there was nothing for him to do but to gather her lips in a kiss. It
reminded him of Assumption.
“Do you remember—in Assumption, Calixta?” he asked in a low voice broken by passion. Oh! she
remembered; for in Assumption he had kissed her and kissed and kissed her; until his senses would well
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nigh fail, and to save her he would resort to a desperate flight. If she was not an immaculate dove in those
days, she was still inviolate; a passionate creature whose very defenselessness had made her defense,
against which his honor forbade him to prevail. Now—well, now—her lips seemed in a manner free to be
tasted, as well as her round, white throat and her whiter breasts.
They did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as she lay in his
arms. She was a revelation in that dim, mysterious chamber; as white as the couch she lay upon. Her firm,
elastic flesh that was knowing for the first time its birthright, was like a creamy lily that the sun invites to
contribute its breath and perfume to the undying life of the world.
The generous abundance of her passion, without guile or trickery, was like a white flame which penetrated
and found response in depths of his own sensuous nature that had never yet been reached.
When he touched her breasts they gave themselves up in quivering ecstasy, inviting his lips. Her mouth
was a fountain of delight. And when he possessed her, they seemed to swoon together at the very
borderland of life’s mystery.
He stayed cushioned upon her, breathless, dazed, enervated, with his heart beating like a hammer upon
her. With one hand she clasped his head, her lips lightly touching his forehead. The other hand stroked
with a soothing rhythm his muscular shoulders.
The growl of the thunder was distant and passing away. The rain beat softly upon the shingles, inviting
them to drowsiness and sleep. But they dared not yield.
III
The rain was over; and the sun was turning the glistening green world into a palace of gems. Calixta, on
the gallery, watched Alcée ride away. He turned and smiled at her with a beaming face; and she lifted her
pretty chin in the air and laughed aloud.
Bobinôt and Bibi, trudging home, stopped without at the cistern to make themselves presentable.
“My! Bibi, w’at will yo’ mama say! You ought to be ashame’. You oughta’ put on those good pants. Look at
’em! An’ that mud on yo’ collar! How you got that mud on yo’ collar, Bibi? I never saw such a boy!” Bibi was
the picture of pathetic resignation. Bobinôt was the embodiment of serious solicitude as he strove to
remove from his own person and his son’s the signs of their tramp over heavy roads and through wet
fields. He scraped the mud off Bibi’s bare legs and feet with a stick and carefully removed all traces from
his heavy brogans. Then, prepared for the worst—the meeting with an over-scrupulous housewife, they
entered cautiously at the back door.
Calixta was preparing supper. She had set the table and was dripping coffee at the hearth. She sprang up
as they came in.
“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.
“I brought you some shrimps, Calixta,” offered Bobinôt, hauling the can from his ample side pocket and
laying it on the table.
“Shrimps! Oh, Bobinôt! you too good fo’ anything!” and she gave him a smacking kiss on the cheek that
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resounded, “J’vous réponds, we’ll have a feas’ to-night! umph-umph!”
Bobinôt and Bibi began to relax and enjoy themselves, and when the three seated themselves at table
they laughed much and so loud that anyone might have heard them as far away as Laballière’s.
IV
Alcée Laballière wrote to his wife, Clarisse, that night. It was a loving letter, full of tender solicitude. He told
her not to hurry back, but if she and the babies liked it at Biloxi, to stay a month longer. He was getting on
nicely; and though he missed them, he was willing to bear the separation a while longer—realizing that
their health and pleasure were the first things to be considered.
V
As for Clarisse, she was charmed upon receiving her husband’s letter. She and the babies were doing
well. The society was agreeable; many of her old friends and acquaintances were at the bay. And the first
free breath since her marriage seemed to restore the pleasant liberty of her maiden days. Devoted as she
was to her husband, their intimate conjugal life was something which she was more than willing to forego
for a while.
So the storm passed and every one was happy.
“The Story of An Hour” Kate Chopin (1894)
Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently
as possible the news of her husband’s death. It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken
sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too,
near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was
received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed.” He had only taken the time to assure
himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend
in bearing the sad message. She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a
paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her
sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have
no one follow her. There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank,
pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul. She
could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring
life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The
notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were
twittering in the eaves. There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that
had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window. She sat with her head thrown back
upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her,
as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams. She was young, with a fair, calm
face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her
eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of
reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought. There was something coming to her and
she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But
she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled
the air. Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was
approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will–as powerless as her two
white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her
slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under hte breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the
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look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast,
and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body. She did not stop to ask if it were or
were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the
suggestion as trivial. She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in
death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw
beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that owuld belong to her absolutely. And
she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome. There would be no one to live for during those
coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind
persistence with which men and women believe they ahve a right to impose a private will upon a fellowcreature.
A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in
that brief moment of illumination. And yet she had loved him–sometimes. Often she had not. What did it
matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion
which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being! “Free! Body and soul free!” she
kept whispering. Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold, imploring for
admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door–you will make yourself ill. What are you doing,
Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.” “Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; she was drinking in a
very elixir of life through that open window. Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her.
Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer
that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long. She
arose at length and opened the door to her sister’s importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her
eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister’s waist, and
together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom. Some one was opening
the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly
carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even
know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to
screen him from the view of his wife. When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of
the joy that kills.
CAT IN THE RAIN
BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY
There were only two Americans stopping at the hotel. They did not know any of the people they passed on
the stairs on their way to and from their room. Their room was on the second floor facing the sea. It also
faced the public garden and war monument. There were big palms and green benches in the public
garden. In the good weather there was always an artist with his easel. Artists liked the way the palms grew
and the bright colors of the hotels facing the sea. Italians came from a long way off to look up at the war
monument. It was made of bronze and glistened in the rain. It was raining. The rain dripped from the palm
trees. Water stood in pools on the gravel paths. The sea broke in a long line in the rain. The motor cars
were gone from the square by the war monument. Across the square in the doorway of the cafe a waiter
stood looking out at the empty square.
The American wife stood at the window looking out. Outside right under their window a cat was crouched
under one of the dripping green tables. The cat was trying to make herself so compact that she would not
be dripped on.
“I’m going down and get that kitty,” the American wife said.
“I’ll do it,” her husband offered from the bed.
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“No, I’ll get it. The poor kitty is out trying to keep dry under the table.”
The husband went on reading, lying propped up with the two pillows at the foot of the bed.
“Don’t get wet,” he said.
The wife went downstairs and the hotel owner stood up and bowed to her as she passed the office. His
desk was at the far end of the office. He was an old man and very tall.
“Il piove,” the wife said. She liked the hotelkeeper.
“Si, si, Signora, brutto tempo. It is very bad weather.”
He stood behind his desk in the far end of the dim room. The wife liked him. She liked the way he wanted
to serve her. She liked the way he felt about being a hotel-keeper. She liked his old, heavy face and big
hands.
Liking him she opened the door and looked out. It was raining harder. A man in a rubber cape was
crossing the empty square to the cafe. The cat would be around to the right. Perhaps she could go along
to the eaves. As she stood in the doorway an umbrella opened behind her. It was the maid who looked
after their room.
“You must not get wet,” she smiled, speaking Italian. Of course, the hotel-keeper had sent her.
With the maid holding the umbrella over her, she walked along the gravel path until she was under their
window. The table was there, washed bright green in the rain, but the cat was gone. She was suddenly
disappointed. The maid looked up at her.
“Ha perduto qualque cosa, Signora?”
“There was a cat,” said the American girl.
“A cat?”
“Si, il gatto.”
“A cat?” the maid laughed. “A cat in the rain?”
“Yes,” she said, “under the table.” Then, “Oh, I wanted it so much. I wanted a kitty.”
When she talked English the maid’s face tightened.
“Come, Signora,” she said. “We must get back inside. You will be wet.”
“I suppose so,” said the American girl.
They went back along the gravel path and passed in the door. The maid stayed outside to close the
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umbrella. As the American girl passed the office, the padrone bowed from his desk. Something felt very
small and tight inside the girl. The padrone made her feel very small and at the same time really important.
She had a momentary feeling of being of supreme importance. She went on up the stairs. She opened the
door of the room. George was on the bed reading.
“Did you get the cat?” he asked, putting the book down.
“It was gone.”
“Wonder where it went to,” he said, resting his eyes from reading. She sat down on the bed.
“I wanted it so much,” she said. “I don’t know why I wanted it so much. I wanted that poor kitty. It isn’t any
fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain.”
George was reading again.
She went over and sat in front of the mirror of the dressing table looking at herself with the hand glass.
She studied her profile, first one side and then the other. Then she studied the back of her head and her
neck.
“Don’t you think it would be a good idea if I let my hair grow out?” she asked, looking at her profile again.
George looked up and saw the back of her neck, clipped close like a boy’s.
“I like it the way it is.”
“I get so tired of it,” she said. “I get so tired of looking like a boy.”
George shifted his position in the bed. He hadn’t looked away from her since she started to speak.
“You look pretty darn nice,” he said.
She laid the mirror down on the dresser and went over to the window and looked out. It was getting dark.
“I want to pull my hair back tight and smooth and make a big knot at the back that I can feel,” she said. “I
want to have a kitty to sit on my lap and purr when I stroke her.”
“Yeah?” George said from the bed.
“And I want to eat at a table with my own silver and I want candles. And I want it to be spring and I want to
brush my hair out in front of a mirror and I want a kitty and I want some new clothes.”
“Oh, shut up and get something to read,” George said. He was reading again.
His wife was looking out of the window. It was quite dark now and still raining in the palm trees.
“Anyway, I want a cat,” she said, “I want a cat. I want a cat now. If I can’t have long hair or any fun, I can
have a cat.”
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George was not listening. He was reading his book. His wife looked out of the window where the light had
come on in the square.
Someone knocked at the door.
“Avanti,” George said. He looked up from his book. In the doorway stood the maid. She held a big tortoiseshell
cat pressed tight against her and swung down against her body.
“Excuse me,” she said, “the padrone asked me to bring this for the Signora.”
Last modified: Thursday, 31 May 2012, 9:32 PM
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