Phoenix is however closer to a saint in her dedication to a cause, while Calixta is a human being who abandons herself at some point to the voice of desire and allows a few moments of surrender to the carnal pleasure that takes hold, regardless of her and her accidental companion's marital status.
Welty's story is full of imagery, thorny bushes come to life and grab old Phoenix' dress, she dreams of a little boy bringing her a slice of marble cake, at a moment of rest, a scarecrow, in the "dead cornfield" is believed to be a ghost, cabins are compared with "old women under a spell sitting there," the road going down is described as being "dark as a cave" (Welty, a Worn Path). In Chopin's story, there are a very few things left to imagination; everything is down to earth, real life is pulsating through every scene. There are the chickens who "huddled on the porch, moments before Alcee's arrival, the "plows and a harrow piled up in the corner" that suggest life with its every day activities, the cotton sheets on the floor, Calixta was gathering "nervously" while "Alcee flung himself into a rocker," all signs of normal life in a household in the country. There is little that could be described as mystical in "The Storm," everything is down to earth and as close to the human nature as possible. Only the "monumental bed" with "its closed shutters, looked dim and mysterious"(Chopin, the Storm). There are two possible meanings intended to be attached here: the mystery of life expressed by the sexual act between husband and wife and the mystery of the forbidden act provoking the two characters to commit adultery.
The hearing sense is not forgotten in both stories, too, for the completion of the picture. Sounds, or the lack of them, are important. At the beginning, old Phoenix' cane "made a grave and persistent noise in the still air." Even the noise of the cane on the frozen ground is grave and this is making the story's tone setting round right from the first paragraph.
Beside this noise, things are quite and in harmony with the whole atmosphere: "the woods were deep and still," even a spring "was silently flowing through a hollow log."(Welty, a Worn Path). On the other hand, Kate Chopin's story is full of powerful sounds that are announced from the title: "The Storm" is accompanied by the noises made by the water poring from the sky and coming against the window shields and the roof, the crashing of a bolt "seemed to invade the very boards they[Calixta and Alcee] stood upon"(Chopin, Worn Path), and after they made love Calixta and Alcee "did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as she lay in his arms." (ibid).
The two women in the two stories are presented in a descriptive way, the developing action realized with the help of words, landscape, rhythm, tone, setting. The words are very carefully chosen, always in harmony with the whole set. The nature matches the character's ages and their actions and it plays an important role in the action, it is a character itself. Both authors remain impartial and never include moral considerations, never judge, facts are presented the way they are, nothing leads to matters of moral assertions. The women are essentially different. Despite her frail appearance and her age, Phoenix is a hero, pursuing her aim, overcoming obstacles and finally reaching her goal at the expense of her safety. Calixta is giving in to her weaknesses, abandoning herself for a few moments in the arms of endless passion, concentrated only on her own needs.
Chopin. Kate. The Storm. 1898. 10 September 2007. http://www.faulkner.edu/admin/websites/cwarmack/the%20Storm%20Chopin.pdf
Craig. Seyersted on Kate Chopin's "The Storm." 2006. Land of Dystopia. 10 September 2007. http://landofdystopia.blogspot.com/2006/10/seyersted-on-kate-chopins-storm.html
Welty, Eudora. A Worn Path from the Collected Works of Eudora Welty. 10 September 2007. http://www.barksdale.latech.edu/Engl%20308/a%20Worn%20Path.doc
Worn Path, Eudora Welty. INTRODUCTION. 2007. 11 September 2007. http://www.enotes.com/short-story-criticism/worn-path-welty-eudora