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Desiree S Baby
The short story, Desiree s Baby , by Kate Chopin is about a woman who is abandoned as a baby and adopted and raised by a loving family. After she and her husband have a baby, and the baby has a dark complexion, her husband Armand accuses her of being of black descent and orders her to leave. The story ends with Desiree disappearing into the bayou with her baby. Ironically, Armand discovers a letter which was stuffed in the back of a drawer written by his mother, I thank God for having so arranged our lives that our dear Armand will never know that his mother, who adores him, belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery, (333) which explains that it is he who is of mixed race. The story takes place in a Creole community ruled by institutions based on clear-cut duality s: master over slave, white over black, and man over woman. Chopin s brilliant use of imagery, the story s setting, and characterizations are significant literary elements used that support the ironic outcome and hints of Armand s evil nature.
The story crosses the line into the hush-hush world of mixed ancestry and the problems it produces. The racism in the story is not really discussed openly, but is subtly mixed in with Armand s horrible character and his evil soul. The concept of Armand falling in love as if struck by a pistol shot with the passion like an avalanche seems suspicious and sounds more like infatuation than love. Chopin illustrates Armand s falling in love as almost violent, apparently describing Armand s true character. It seems that Armand s evil could not have come from his parents because the slaves on the plantation were described as happy and cheerful while his father was alive. This also complements the fact that it is Armand who is of mixed race since his father was tolerant of blacks and in love with a colored woman. The death of his mother while living in France when he was eight years old may have had an effect on his character. The way Madame Valmonde described the L Abri as, a sad looking place, which for many years had not known the gentle presence of a mistress, (329) may have been a hint at Armand s evil nature
being tied to having no maternal influence during most of his boyhood. His mother had lived in Paris, probably because it was more acceptable to be a mixed race couple there. If discovered of his mixed ancestry, Armand s status in the hierarchy of Creole society would have been at stake.
Madame Valmonde, Desiree s adopted mother, noticed the baby s mixed ancestry immediately when she went for a visit, exclaiming out loud at first sight of him, this is not the baby! (330) Desiree laughed as she thought her mother was referring to how big the baby had grown since her last visit four weeks ago. Madame Valmonde never took her eyes off the...
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Desiree's Baby. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 12 Oct, 2010 from