At the ‘Cadian Ball – Kate Chopin
“At the ‘Cadian Ball” is a short story which has been penned by Kate Chopin, an American author in the late 1800s. The story was penned in 1894 and was published in December that year. The story was again reprinted to a larger audience in January 1895.
At the ‘Cadian Ball follows a very simple story line where the love lives of four protagonists are entwined. It follows the love lives of two young couples, the men Bobint and Alcee, and two young women, Calixta and Clarisse. The story takes place in Louisiana during the late 19th century and at that time social structures were very rigid. Alcee and Clarisse come from wealthy families while Bobint and Calixta are from the lower classes.
This story is included into the high school curriculum of the USA and is read by hundreds of thousands of children across the world. You can download a free PDF copy of “At the ‘Cadian Ball” right below and also download a worksheet with many questions and answers.
Table of contents – At the ‘Cadian Ball
- At the ‘Cadian Ball Story
- Plot, Summary and Analysis – At the ‘Cadian Ball
- Questions and Answers – At the ‘Cadian Ball
- At the ‘Cadian Ball – Worksheets PDF
- At the ‘Cadian Ball – PDF
- At the ‘Cadian Ball – Analysis PDF
Other famous short stories which you can read
- The steadfast tin soldier
- Lamb to the slaughter
- The little match girl
- The goblin and the grocers
- The handsomest drowned man in the world
- The princess and the pea
At the ‘Cadian Ball
Bobint, that big, brown, good-natured Bobint, had no intention of going to the ball, even though he knew Calixta would be there. For what came of those balls but heartache, and a sickening disinclination for work the whole week through, till Saturday night came again and his tortures began afresh?
Why could he not love Ozina, who would marry him to-morrow; or Fronie, or any one of a dozen others, rather than that little Spanish vixen? Calixta’s slender foot had never touched Cuban soil; but her mother’s had, and the Spanish was in her blood all the same.
For that reason the prairie people forgave her much that they would not have overlooked in their own daughters or sisters.
Her eyes, Bobint thought of her eyes, and weakened, the bluest, the drowsiest, most tantalizing that ever looked into a man’s, he thought of her flaxen hair that kinked worse than a mulatto’s close to her head; that broad, smiling mouth and tip-tilted nose, that full figure; that voice like a rich contralto song, with cadences in it that must have been taught by Satan, for there was no one else to teach her tricks on that ‘Cadian prairie. Bobint thought of them all as he plowed his rows of cane.
There had even been a breath of scandal whispered about her a year ago, when she went to Assumption, but why talk of it? No one did now. “C’est Espagnol, a,” most of them said with lenient shoulder-shrugs.
“Bon chien tient de race,” the old men mumbled over their pipes, stirred by recollections. Nothing was made of it, except that Fronie threw it up to Calixta when the two quarrelled and fought on the church steps after mass one Sunday, about a lover.
Calixta swore roundly in fine ‘Cadian French and with true Spanish spirit, and slapped Fronie’s face. Fronie had slapped her back; “Tiens, bocotte, va!”
“Espce de lionse; prends a, et a!” till the cur himself was obliged to hasten and make peace between them. Bobint thought of it all, and would not go to the ball.
But in the afternoon, over at Friedheimer’s store, where he was buying a trace-chain, he heard some one say that Alcee Laballire would be there. Then wild horses could not have kept him away. He knew how it would be, or rather he did not know how it would be if the handsome young planter came over to the ball as he sometimes did.
If Alcee happened to be in a serious mood, he might only go to the card-room and play a round or two; or he might stand out on the galleries talking crops and politics with the old people. But there was no telling.
A drink or two could put the devil in his head, that was what Bobint said to himself, as he wiped the sweat from his brow with his red bandanna; a gleam from Calixta’s eyes, a flash of her ankle, a twirl of her skirts could do the same. Yes, Bobint would go to the ball.
That was the year Alcee Laballire put nine hundred acres in rice. It was putting a good deal of money into the ground, but the returns promised to be glorious. Old Madame Laballire, sailing about the spacious galleries in her white volante, figured it all out in her head. Clarisse, her goddaughter helped her a little, and together they built more air-castles than enough.
Alice worked like a mule that time; and if he did not kill himself, it was because his constitution was an iron one. It was an every-day affair for him to come in from the field well-nigh exhausted, and wet to the waist.
He did not mind if there were visitors; he left them to his mother and Clarisse. There were often guests: young men and women who came up from the city, which was but a few hours away, to visit his beautiful kinswoman.
She was worth going a good deal farther than that to see. Dainty as a lily; hardy as a sunflower; slim, tall, graceful, like one of the reeds that grew in the marsh. Cold and kind and cruel by turn, and everything that was aggravating to Alcee.
The love for Clarisse
He would have liked to sweep the place of those visitors, often. Of the men, above all, with their ways and their manners; their swaying of fans like women, and dandling about hammocks. He could have pitched them over the levee into the river, if it hadn’t meant murder. That was Alcee.
But he must have been crazy the day he came in from the rice-field, and, toil-stained as he was, clasped Clarisse by the arms and panted a volley of hot, blistering love-words into her face. No man had ever spoken love to her like that.
“Monsieur!” she exclaimed, looking him full in the eyes, without a quiver. Alcee’s hands dropped and his glance wavered before the chill of her calm, clear eyes.
“Par exemple!” she muttered disdainfully, as she turned from him, deftly adjusting the careful toilet that he had so brutally disarranged.
That happened a day or two before the cyclone came that cut into the rice like fine steel. It was an awful thing, coming so swiftly, without a moment’s warning in which to light a holy candle or set a piece of blessed palm burning.
Old Madame wept openly and said her beads, just as her son Didier, the New Orleans one, would have done. If such a thing had happened to Alphonse, the Laballire planting cotton up in Natchitoches, he would have raved and stormed like a second cyclone, and made his surroundings unbearable for a day or two.
But Alcee took the misfortune differently. He looked ill and gray after it, and said nothing. His speechlessness was frightful. Clarisse’s heart melted with tenderness; but when she offered her soft, purring words of condolence, he accepted them with mute indifference. Then she and her nnaine wept afresh in each other’s arms.
Where is Alcee.
A night or two later, when Clarisse went to her window to kneel there in the moonlight and say her prayers before retiring, she saw that Bruce, Alcee’s negro servant, had led his master’s saddle-horse noiselessly along the edge of the sward that bordered the gravel-path, and stood holding him nearby.
Presently, she heard Alcee quit his room, which was beneath her own, and traverse the lower portico. As he emerged from the shadow and crossed the strip of moonlight, she perceived that he carried a pair of well-filled saddle-bags which he at once flung across the animal’s back.
He then lost no time in mounting, and after a brief exchange of words with Bruce, went cantering away, taking no precaution to avoid the noisy gravel as the Negro had done.
Clarisse had never suspected that it might be Alcee’s custom to sally forth from the plantation secretly, and at such an hour; for it was nearly midnight. And had it not been for the telltale saddle-bags, she would only have crept to bed, to wonder, to fret and dream unpleasant dreams.
But her impatience and anxiety would not be held in check. Hastily unbolting the shutters of her door that opened upon the gallery, she stepped outside and called softly to the old Negro.
“Gre’t Peter! Miss Clarisse. I was n’ sho it was a ghos’ o’ w’at, stan’in’ up dah, plumb in de night, dataway.”
He mounted halfway up the long, broad flight of stairs. She was standing at the top.
“Bruce, w’ere has Monsieur Alcee gone?” she asked.
“W’y, he gone ’bout he business, I reckin,” replied Bruce, striving to be noncommittal at the outset.
The Cajun Ball
“W’ere has Monsieur Alcee gone?” she reiterated, stamping her bare foot. “I won’t stan’ any nonsense or any lies; mine, Bruce.”
“I don’ ric’lic ez I eva tole you lie yit, Miss Clarisse. Mista Alcee, he all broke up, sho.”
“W’ere – has – he gone? Ah, Sainte Vierge! faut de la patience! butor, va!”
“W’en I was in he room, a-breshin’ off he clo’es to-day,” the darkey began, settling himself against the stair-rail, “he look dat speechless an’ down, I say, ‘You ‘pear tu me like some pussun w’at gwine have a spell o’ sickness, Mista Alcee.’ He say, ‘You reckin?’ ‘I dat he git up, go look hisse’f stiddy in de glass. Den he go to de chimbly an’ jerk up de quinine bottle an po’ a gre’t hoss-dose on to he han’. An’ he swalla dat mess in a wink, an’ wash hit down wid a big dram o’ w’iskey w’at he keep in he room, aginst he come all soppin’ wet outen de fiel’.
“He ‘lows, ‘No, I ain’ gwine be sick, Bruce.’ Den he square off. He say, ‘I kin mak out to stan’ up an’ gi’ an’ take wid any man I knows, lessen hit ‘s John L. Sulvun. But w’en God A’mighty an’ a ‘omen jines fo’ces agin me, dat ‘s one too many fur me.’ I tell ‘im, ‘Jis so,’ while’ I ‘se makin’ out to bresh a spot off w’at ain’ dah, on he coat colla. I tell ‘im, ‘You wants li’le res’, suh.’ He say, ‘No, I wants li’le fling; dat w’at I wants; an I gwine git it. Pitch me a fis’ful o’ clo’es in dem ‘ar saddle-bags.’ Dat w’at he say. Don’t you bodda, missy. He jis’ gone a-caperin’ yonda to de Cajun ball. Uh – uh – de skeeters is fair’ a-swarmin’ like bees roun’ yo’ foots!”
What is the ‘Cadian ball?
The mosquitoes were indeed attacking Clarisse’s white feet savagely. She had unconsciously been alternately rubbing one foot over the other during the darkey’s recital.
“The ‘Cadian ball,” she repeated contemptously. “Humph! Par exemple! Nice conduc’ for a Laballire. An’ he needs a saddle-bag, fill’ with clothes, to go to the ‘Cadian ball!”
“Oh, Miss Clarisse; you go on to bed, chile; git yo’ soun’ sleep. He ‘low he come back in couple weeks o’ so. I kiarn be repeatin’ lot o’ truck w’at young mans say, out heah face o’ a young gal.”
Clarisse said no more, but turned and abruptly re-entered the house.
“You done talk too much wid yo’ mouf already, you ole fool nigga, you,” muttered Bruce to himself as he walked away.
Alcee reached the ball very late, of course too late for the chicken gumbo which had been served at midnight.
The big, low-ceiled room they called it a hall was packed with men and women dancing to the music of three fiddles. There were broad galleries all around it. There was a room at one side where sober-faced men were playing cards. Another, in which babies were sleeping, was called le parc aux petits.
Any one who is white may go to a ‘Cadian ball, but he must pay for his lemonade, his coffee and chicken gumbo. And he must behave himself like a ‘Cadian. Grosboeuf was giving this ball. He had been giving them since he was a young man, and he was a middle-aged one, now.
In that time he could recall but one disturbance, and that was caused by American railroaders, who were not in touch with their surroundings and had no business there.
“Ces maudits gens du raiderode,” Grosboeuf called them.
The belle Calixta
Alcee Laballire’s presence at the ball caused a flutter even among the men, who could not but admire his “nerve” after such misfortune befalling him. To be sure, they knew the Laballires were rich that there were resources East, and more again in the city. But they felt it took a brave man to stand a blow like that philosophically.
One old gentleman, who was in the habit of reading a Paris newspaper and knew things, chuckled gleefully to everybody that Alcee’s conduct was altogether chic, mais chic. That he had more panache than Boulanger. Well, perhaps he had.
But what he did not show outwardly was that he was in a mood for ugly things to-night. Poor Bobint alone felt it vaguely. He discerned a gleam of it in Alcee’s handsome eyes, as the young planter stood in the doorway, looking with rather feverish glance upon the assembly, while he laughed and talked with a ‘Cadian farmer who was beside him.
Bobint himself was dull-looking and clumsy. Most of the men were. But the young women were very beautiful. The eyes that glanced into Alcee’s as they passed him were big, dark, soft as those of the young heifers standing out in the cool prairie grass.
But the belle was Calixta. Her white dress was not nearly so handsome or well made as Fronie’s (she and Fronie had quite forgotten the battle on the church steps, and were friends again), nor were her slippers so stylish as those of Ozina.
She fanned herself with a handkerchief, since she had broken her red fan at the last ball, and her aunts and uncles were not willing to give her another. But all the men agreed she was at her best to-night. Such animation, and abandon, such flashes of wit!
“H, Bobint! Mais w’at’s the matta? W’at you standin’ plant l like ole Ma’ame Tina’s cow in the bog, you?”
That was good. That was an excellent thrust at Bobint, who had forgotten the figure of the dance with his mind bent on other things, and it started a clamour of laughter at his expense. He joined good-naturedly. It was better to receive even such notice as that from Calixta than none at all.
But Madame Suzonne, sitting in a corner, whispered to her neighbour that if Ozina were to conduct herself in a like manner, she should immediately be taken out to the mule-cart and driven home. The women did not always approve of Calixta.
Now and then were short lulls in the dance, when couples flocked out upon the galleries for a brief respite and fresh air. The moon had gone down pale in the west, and in the east was yet no promise of day. After such an interval, when the dancers again assembled to resume the interrupted quadrille, Calixta was not among them.
She was sitting upon a bench out in the shadow, with Alcee beside her. They were acting like fools. He had attempted to take a little gold ring from her finger; just for the fun of it, for there was nothing he could have done with the ring but replace it again.
But she clinched her hand tight. He pretended that it was a very difficult matter to open it. Then he kept the hand in his. They seemed to forget about it. He played with her ear-ring, a thin crescent of gold hanging from her small brown ear. He caught a wisp of the kinky hair that had escaped its fastening, and rubbed the ends of it against his shaven cheek.
“You know, last year in Assumption, Calixta?” They belonged to the younger generation, so preferred to speak English.
“Don’t come say Assumption to me, M’sieur Alcee. I done yeard Assumption till I ‘m plumb sick.”
“Yes, I know. The idiots! Because you were in Assumption, and I happened to go to Assumption, they must have it that we went together. But it was nice hein, Calixta?in Assumption?”
They saw Bobint emerge from the hall and stand a moment outside the lighted doorway, peering uneasily and searchingly into the darkness. He did not see them, and went slowly back.
“There is Bobint looking for you. You are going to set poor Bobint crazy. You’ll marry him some day; hein, Calixta?”
“I don’t say no, me,” she replied, striving to withdraw her hand, which he held more firmly for the attempt.
“But come, Calixta; you know you said you would go back to Assumption, just to spite them.”
“No, I neva said that, me. You mus’ dreamt that.”
“Oh, I thought you did. You know I ‘m going down to the city.”
“Betta make has’e, then; it ‘s mos’ day.”
“Well, to-morrow ‘ll do.”
“W’at you goin’ do, yonda?”
“I don’t know. Drown myself in the lake, maybe; unless you go down there to visit your uncle.”
Calixta’s senses were reeling; and they well-nigh left her when she felt Alcee’s lips brush her ear like the touch of a rose.
“Mista Alcee! Is dat Mista Alcee?” the thick voice of a negro was asking; he stood on the ground, holding to the banister-rails near which the couple sat.
“W’at do you want now?” cried Alcee impatiently. “Can’t I have a moment of peace?”
Clarisse and Alcee
“I ben huntin’ you high an’ low, suh,” answered the man. “Dey – dey some one in de road, onda de mulbare-tree, want see you a minute.”
“I wouldn’t go out to the road to see the Angel Gabriel. And if you come back here with any more talk, I’ll have to break your neck.” The Negro turned mumbling away.
Alce and Calixta laughed softly about it. Her boisterousness was all gone. They talked low, and laughed softly, as lovers do.
“Alcee! Alcee Laballire!”
It was not the Negro’s voice this time; but one that went through Alcee’s body like an electric shock, bringing him to his feet.
Clarisse was standing there in her riding-habit, where the Negro had stood. For an instant confusion reigned in Alcee’s thoughts, as with one who awakes suddenly from a dream. But he felt that something of serious import had brought his cousin to the ball in the dead of night.
“W’at does this mean, Clarisse?” he asked.
“It means something has happen’ at home. You mus’ come.”
“Happened to maman?” he questioned, in alarm.
“No; Nnaine is well, and asleep. It is something else. Not to frighten you. But you mus’ come. Come with me, Alcee.”
There was no need for the imploring note. He would have followed the voice anywhere.
She had now recognized the girl sitting back on the bench.
“Ah, c’est vous, Calixta? Comment a va, mon enfant?”
“Tcha va b’en; et vous, mam’zlle?”
Alcee swung himself over the low rail and started to follow Clarisse, without a word, without a glance back at the girl. He had forgotten he was leaving her there.
But Clarisse whispered something to him, and he turned back to say “Good-night, Calixta,” and offer his hand to press through the railing. She pretended not to see it.
“How come that? You settin’ yere by yo’se’f, Calixta?” It was Bobint who had found her there alone. The dancers had not yet come out. She looked ghastly in the faint, gray light struggling out of the east.
“Yes, that’s me. Go yonda in the parc aux petits an’ ask Aunt Olisse fu’ my hat. She knows w’ere ‘t is. I want to go home, me.”
“How you came?”
“I come afoot, with the Cateaus. But I ‘m goin’ now. I ent goin’ wait fu’ ’em. I ‘m plumb wo’ out, me.”
“Kin I go with you, Calixta?”
“I don’ care.”
They went together across the open prairie and along the edge of the fields, stumbling in the uncertain light. He told her to lift her dress that was getting wet and bedraggled; for she was pulling at the weeds and grasses with her hands.
“I don’ care; it’s got to go in the tub, anyway. You been sayin’ all along you want to marry me, Bobint. Well, if you want, yet, I don’ care, me.”
The glow of a sudden and overwhelming happiness shone out in the brown, rugged face of the young Acadian. He could not speak, for very joy. It choked him.
“Oh well, if you don’ want,” snapped Calixta, flippantly, pretending to be piqued at his silence.
“Bon Dieu! You know that makes me crazy, w’at you sayin’. You mean that, Calixta? You ent goin’ turn roun’ agin?”
“I neva tole you that much yet, Bobint. I mean that. Tiens,” and she held out her hand in the business-like manner of a man who clinches a bargain with a hand-clasp. Bobint grew bold with happiness and asked Calixta to kiss him. She turned her face, that was almost ugly after the night’s dissipation, and looked steadily into his.
“I don’ want to kiss you, Bobint,” she said, turning away again, “not today. Some other time. Bont divine! ent you satisfy, yet!”
“Oh, I ‘m satisfy, Calixta,” he said.
One true Love
Riding through a patch of wood, Clarisse’s saddle became ungirted, and she and Alcee dismounted to readjust it.
For the twentieth time he asked her what had happened at home.
“But, Clarisse, w’at is it? Is it a misfortune?”
“Ah Dieu sait!” It ‘s only something that happen’ to me.”
“I saw you go away las night, Alcee, with those saddle-bags,” she said, haltingly, striving to arrange something about the saddle, “an’ I made Bruce tell me. He said you had gone to the ball, an’ wouldn’ be home for weeks an’ weeks. I thought, Alcee maybe you were going to Assumption. I got wild. An’ then I knew if you didn’t come back, now, to-night, I couldn’t stan’ it,again.”
She had her face hidden in her arm that she was resting against the saddle when she said that.
He began to wonder if this meant love. But she had to tell him so, before he believed it. And when she told him, he thought the face of the Universe was changed just like Bobint. Was it last week the cyclone had well-nigh ruined him?
The cyclone seemed a huge joke, now. It was he, then, who, an hour ago was kissing little Calixta’s ear and whispering nonsense into it. Calixta was like a myth, now. The one, only, great reality in the world was Clarisse standing before him, telling him that she loved him.
In the distance they heard the rapid discharge of pistol-shots; but it did not disturb them. They knew it was only the Negro musicians who had gone into the yard to fire their pistols into the air, as the custom is, and to announce “le bal est fini.”
Theme and moral of “At the ‘Cadian Ball”
The moral of the story “At the ‘Cadian Ball” written by Kate Chopin is that “love can exist only between equals”. Note that this is a very old story and the world has changed since. One of the main themes in “At the ‘Cadian Ball” is forbidden love because Calixta and Alcee love each other or are attracted to each other, but they cannot be together because Alcee is from the wealthy upper class while Calixta is from a much lower working class.
Another theme discussed in the story is the clear contrast and distinction between love and lust. While Alcee feels lust towards Calixta, Bobint feels true love towards her. Alcee feels love towards Clarisse while Clarisse loves him but understands that only when she realises that she would lose him soon.
Summary of At the ‘Cadian Ball
The famous love story by Kate Chopin “At the ’Cadian Ball” follows the love lives of two young couples, the men Bobint and Alcee, and two young women, Calixta and Clarisse. The story takes place in Louisiana during the late 19th century and at that time social structures were very rigid. Alcee and Clarisse come from wealthy families while Bobint and Calixta are from the lower classes.
Bobint is a hard working Acadian farmer. He is in love with a Calixta who is an incredibly beautiful young woman from his own community. Bobint is a true gentleman and he knows that his affections are not reciprocated by Calixta. Because Alcee, the handsome young and wealthy Creole planter, will attend the ball, Bobint is worried that Calixta would fall for him and decides to go as well.
Alcee lives on a huge plantation with his mother, Madame Laballire, and her beautiful goddaughter, Clarisse. Alcee is a hardworking man and is not known for his love of guests or people. A few days prior, he proposed his love to Clarisse. This scandalizes Clarisse and she rejects him.
A powerful cyclone unfortunately destroys Alcee’s entire rice crop and that becomes the talk of town. Alcee decides to attend the ball since he is desperate to relieve his frustrations.
At the ball, Alcee’s presence causes a stir as he is a rich and wealthy plantation owner. Many of the men admire Alcee for showing his face after losing his crops to the cyclone. Women admire him for his good looks, charm and wealth.
Alcee and Calixta begin to flirt while Bobint searches for Calixta. Alcee notices Bobint desperately searching and asks Calixta if she will marry Bobint. She does not commit to an answer.
Suddenly a servant interrupts and informs Alcee of a visitor. Alcee gets angry and dismisses the servant. He then continues to flirt with Calixta. Suddenly Clarisse appears which startles Alcee. She asks him to come home saying that something has gone wrong. He readily heads home with Clarisse
He promptly forgets Calixta and leaves her. Bobint finds Calixta on the gallery and she is dejected. He offers to walk her home, and she agrees with indifference. She half heartedly tells Bobint that she is willing to marry him. Bobint is delighted beyond his wildest dreams.
Meanwhile Alcee and Clarisse are on their way home. She finally admits that she loves him. Alcee is delighted and forgets all about Calixta and the recent cyclone.
Analysis of At the ‘Cadian Ball
Let us read the analysis of the famous short love story, “At the ‘Cadian Ball” by Kate Chopin. It follows the love lives of two young couples, the men Bobint and Alcee, and two young women, Calixta and Clarisse.
The love story takes place in Louisiana during the late 19th century and at that time social structures were very rigid and the distinction between different classes of people were very much impressed on the people of America. Alcee and Clarisse come from wealthy families while Bobint and Calixta are from the lower classes.
Setting of the ‘Cadian Ball
- The love story takes place in a French American community since many of the dialogues are spoken in French.
- Bobint is a farmer who farms for cane. This indicates that the story takes place in the American South. He is a lumbering and clumsy man and everyone laughs at him. Alcee is a wealthy plantation owner who is very handsome and everyone admires him.
- In the start of the story it is shown that Bobint is fixated and in love with Calixta. He desperately wants to marry her but she has spurned his advances. He is a true gentleman and does not pursue her. He chooses not to go to the ‘Cadian ball as he does not want to incontinence her.
- Alcee is in love with Clarisse and proposes to her but is spurned by her. He immediately seeks to find love elsewhere and gores to the ball to flirt with Calixta although he knows that he won’t marry her as she is from a much lower class.
Analysis of Calixta from the ‘Cadian Ball
- Calixta has a reputation of sleeping with a man a year ago out of wedlock and that is a very harsh reputation to have in the 19th century American south.
- Her behaviour is considered improper for a lady and many women shun and spurn her. All the men woo her as she is a thing of great beauty.
- The American south is a very conservative society and the prevalent culture expect manners and culture in women which require restraint.
- Calixta has a reputation for definite lack of verbal restraint as well as perceived lack of physical restraint and thus is quite far from the cultural ideals appropriate for 1800s.
- Despite Calixta’s impropriety, Bobint loves her for who she is while she does not like him as he is not exciting and charismatic as Alcee is.
Analysis of Bobint from the ‘Cadian Ball
- The story describes Bobint to be a farmer to be dull looking, not charismatic, and clumsy. He is openly laughed at which shows that he has a negative reputation and does not have anger issues as people would not laugh so openly at an angry man.
- He is also described to be a good natured, kind and a loyal man. Calixta however does not consider this and only goes on and compares him to “Madame Tina’s cow in the bog” which is an insult.
- An analysis of Bobint from the perspective of his feelings for Calixta presents a different quality about him. He is shown to be deeply in love with Calixta. When he is spurned by her, he shows character by not wanting to go to the ball so as not to embarrass her. This shows a high degree of morals and also honour which men lacked in the 1800s as it was a deeply patriarchal society.
- He also shows a sense of responsibility he has to protect Calixta from her own poor choices of judgement and also to her wellbeing when he decides to go to the ball because the notorious lover Alcee was coming to the ball. His desire to protect her from Alcee also goes on to demonstrate that his love for Calixta was not just mere attraction.
- He searches for her throughout the ball and believes in his love for her but does not show any outward displays of affection without her agreeing to it.
- When she agrees to the marriage grudgingly, he is truly elated and does not notice her frustration or her lack of interest which signifies that he is a simpleton.
- From the outset of the story, classism is shown to be prevalent and widely accepted in the society and women and men must marry within their own classes.
- Alcee is shown to be interested in Calixta and the feeling is also mutual. However the story takes place in Louisiana during the late 19th century and at that time social structures were very rigid. Alcee and Clarisse come from wealthy families while Bobint and Calixta are from the lower classes.
- Thus Alcee and Calixta can never be together since they are both from different classes of people. Love rarely jumps between classes and this is not shown to be the case in this story.
- They are both shown to have had an affair in the past which shows that they may have actually had feelings for each other at some point but both of them are completely aware and accept that they cannot be together.
- The classism and rigid social structures are shown more clearly when Alcee goes on to ask Calixta when she will agree to the proposal of Bobint even when they are flirting with each other since they both are aware that marriage was the accepted and logical choice for the two even if she does not love him.
Questions and Answers – At the ‘Cadian Ball – Set 1
- Who are the main characters in At the ‘Cadian Ball?
- The story follows the love lives of four characters and their love lives. The men Bobint and Alcee and two young women, Calixta and Clarisse are the four main characters of the short story.
- Who is the protagonist of the story At the ‘Cadian Ball?
- There is no true protagonist of the story although the story is explained through the feelings and eyes of Bobint, Clarisse and Alcee.
- What happened in the start of story At the ‘Cadian Ball?
- In the start of the story, Bobint is sad that his proposal was not accepted by Calixta and decides not to go to the ‘Cadian Ball so as not to embarrass her.
- What is the theme of At the ‘Cadian Ball?
- One of the main themes in “At the ‘Cadian Ball” is forbidden love because Calixta and Alcee love each other or are attracted to each other, but they cannot be together because Alcee is from the wealthy upper class while Calixta is from a much lower working class.
- What is the moral of At the ‘Cadian Ball?
- The moral of the story “At the ‘Cadian Ball” written by Kate Chopin is that “love can exist only between equals”. Note that this is a very old story and the world has changed since.
Questions and Answers – At the ‘Cadian Ball – Set 2
- What is the message shared by the author in At the ‘Cadian Ball?
- The main message shared by the author Kate Chopin in the short story At the ‘Cadian Ball is to describe forbidden love and that love is forced to exist within classes in a class rigid society of the 19th
- What is At the ‘Cadian Ball short story about?
- At the ‘Cadian Ball is a short story written by Kate Chopin. In this story, a wealthy Creole Alcee is spurned by the one he loves Clarisse and Bobint, a farmer who is spurned by Calixta. The story is about forbidden love between two classes of people.
- Why is At the ‘Cadian Ball controversial when it first came out?
- The story was released in the 1890s and it was considered highly controversial since it explained that the female protagonist was promiscuous and had affairs out of wedlock.
- What happens in the end of the story?
- In the end of the story, Calixta agrees to marry Bobint and Clarisse confesses her love to a delighted Alcee.
- What is the difference in love and attraction described in the story the ‘Cadian ball?
- The author Kate Chopin writes and describes a clear distinction between love and attraction. Attraction is shown in the form of flirtation and lust while love is shown in the form of devotion and respect.
Questions and Answers – At the ‘Cadian Ball – Set 3
- Describe Calixta in at the Cadian ball?
- Calixta is a young and unmarried woman who is very beautiful. She is part of an Acadian community in Louisiana and is of the middle or lower classes of people. She is the love interest of Bobint, an Acadian farmer who wishes to marry her. She is also flirted with by of Alcee, a wealthy Creole planter.
- Where is the story ‘at the Cadian ball’ set up?
- The story takes place in the late 19th century in Louisiana. The location is supposedly a few hours by train from New Orleans in that time. The location is mostly at the ‘Cadian ball.
- Who is Bobint in the Cadian Ball?
- Bobint is an Acadian farmer who is described to be a simpleton and is very clumsy, dull-looking and not charismatic. He is desperately in love with Calixta, a very attractive lady of his own community. Bobint is also good-natured and is very honourable.
- What happens when Alcee confesses his love to Clarisse?
- Alcee returned back from the plantation and is covered in dirt. He is exhausted and tired but confessed love to Clarisse. She rejects him as she is scandalized by the prospect.
At the ‘Cadian Ball– Worksheet PDF
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At the ‘Cadian Ball – Short story – PDF
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At the ‘Cadian Ball – Analysis – PDF
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