Calixta’s husband Bobinot, as caring as he may be, does not have a strong sense of power or control, important for men in the 19th century. It is difficult for Calixta to feel secured by a man “who was accustomed to converse on terms of perfect equality with his little son” (119). There is no question that Bobinot may love and care for Calixta, he thinks about her during the storm and purchases “a can of shrimps, of which Calixta is very fond” (120). However, Bobinot cares more about Calixta being disappointed or angry with him in a childish way, asking Bibi, his four year old son, “what will yo mama say! You ought to be ashamed.
You oughtn’ put on those good pants. Look at Dem! 0″ (122). Calixta has more control in the family than Bobinot does and looks to her husband as more of a second child to watch over rather than powerful male figure. Being married to a childlike man, for Calixta, has its sexual repercussions. Calixta is left feeling frustrated and obviously unfulfilled with her and Bobinot’s sex life. At home she “sews furiously on a sewing machine,” (120) and probably continues her other daily activities with such a “generous abundance of her passion” (122) and determination that she has not yet been able to express in their sexual activities.
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It isn’t until her sexual encounter with Alcee Laballiere that she is able to release this frustration churning inside of her. When she was with Alcee she had feelings foreign to herself and most certainly foreign to Bobinot, “her firm, elastic flesh that was knowing for the first time its birthright, was like a reamy lily that the sun invites to contribute its breath and perfume to the undying life of the world” (122). Together, Calixta and Alcee’s actions found a “sensuous nature that had never yet been reached” (122).
Calixta would not be likely to cheat on her husband with just any man; Alcee Laballiere is a special case. He is a much more distinguished man than Bobinot and has a past with Calixta which is much less than plutonic. Calixta still remembers their past and when ‘Alcee Laballiere rode in at the gate?his voice and her own startled her as if from a trance” (120). When Calixta allows Alcee to come inside and they are close they are reminded of their past encounter. He looked down into her eyes and there was nothing for him to do but gather her lips up in a kiss. It reminded him of Assumption” (121). After Alcee reminds Calixta of what had happened in Assumption “her lips seemed in a manner free to be tasted” (121). “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 her and kissed her; until his sense would well nigh fail, and to save her he would esort to a desperate flight”(121).
What Calixta does with Alcee does not make her a bad woman; she did not just act on these urges to make her husband angry. She does it because several factors of her and Bobinot’s unfulfilling marriage drive Calixta to commit this adulterous act. She was not happy being married to a man like Bobinot, who has less power and control of the family than she does. Bobinot also does not satisfy Calixta sexually so she is left feeling frustrated. These reasons plus her encounter with Alcee Laballiere are what caused her to cheat on her husband.