There were theories among the townspeople that she was left by a party of traveling Texans, but that did not seem to make a difference for the Valmondés. Analysis Of Desiree's Baby By Kate Chopin 1474 Words | 6 Pages. They took in Desiree as she was, and it was only when Armand took a fancy to her as a grownup that Monsieur Valmondé cautioned Armand to at least consider the background of Desiree. The author only hints at what causes all these emotions until Armand says the reason out loud: "It means ... that the child is not white." "Désirée was miserable enough to die...."  Even though she initially protests Armand's allegations about her mixed background, Desiree eventually complies and accepts Armand's position. When the narrator says that Désirée considers “all that this accusation meant for her,” it is suggested that Armand assumes that Désirée is either part African American or has had an affair with an African American man. Notice again the way that Chopin emphasizes Armand’s power as a wealthy white landowner. It is also why Désirée is apparently unaware of what her husband does at La Blanche's cabin. Among the enslaved people at L’Abri, Armand’s estate, are “quadroons” (an outdated term for those with one-quarter Black ancestry) and other people of mixed white and Black descent. See in text (Désirée's Baby). An interesting aspect of this short story is that it is an early example of feminism in literature. "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." The story says, “…she shuddered at the sight of it, as she always did. Whether Desiree does or does not accept that she is the reason her baby has African features is unclear. -Graham S. “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. La Blanche never appears in the story and yet is an important figure. Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine. However, the main characters' thoughts and words reveal the cruelty of slavery. Désirée is perhaps the most extreme example of the pain racism causes everyone, regardless of race. Here, Désirée asks her mother to explain the truth to an unidentified plural "them." By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our, read analysis of Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism, read analysis of Irony, Misjudgments, and Fate. "Providence..."  However, this is completely left to the reader's imagination. The short story “Story of an Hour”, written by Kate Chopin ;the story “Sweat”, written by Zora Neale Hurston; and the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Perkins Gilman, all present characteristics which are effective to challenge women’s roles in society. His slaves are actually doing the work here, and Désirée’s reputation is the only one that suffers, as a woman now believed to be part-black. He is not free to share the truth with anyone lest he lose everything he has. Both women are under the... What are the claims of "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin? Armand can have relations with an unwilling slave, but even the idea of Désirée having an affair disgusts him. Madame Valmondé remembers him as "easy-going and indulgent" with the slaves, but this does not change the fact that he benefited from their work within a deeply unfair and inhumane social system. For the white characters in the story, racism seems beneficial on the surface, but it causes deep pain and damage nevertheless. Désirée understands the social, political, and economic consequences that being mixed-race entails for both herself and her son. Racism extends to those whose ancestry is only a fraction Black. "and it was he who dealt out to a half dozen negroes the material which kept this fire ablaze...."  Notice that Madame Valmondé’s interpretation of the situation ultimately decides Désirée’s fate. Although Désirée's heritage is probably white, she is irrevocably harmed when her husband labels her as "not white." Desiree's Baby essays are academic essays for citation. He simply states the problem and rejects the child forever. Course Hero, Inc. As a reminder, you may only use Course Hero content for your own personal use and may not copy, distribute, or otherwise exploit it for any other purpose. This surprise ending reveals a deeply painful truth, whether this is Armand's first time learning of this or not. Although Armand’s “imperious and exacting nature” has been “softened” by love and the birth of his child, Désirée is still subject to his mood swings. When the couple realizes that their baby may be of mixed racial origin, Armand immediately blames Désirée and denounces her. “Désirée’s Baby” depicts the ways in which the gender and economic inequalities present in mid-nineteenth century Southern society reinforced and intermingled … . This dramatic plot twist makes the ending of the story, and the story itself, all the more ironic and devastating. Armand is also softened by his love for Désirée. Instead, she shows her characters' reactions—Madame Valmondé's suspicion and surprise, Désirée's horror, and Armand's fury. When the couple realizes that their baby may be of mixed racial origin, Armand immediately blames Désirée and denounces her. Learn how … It is absurdly cruel for his father to reject him and his mother to likely kill him because they and others see mixed-race features in him. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. This relates to the plot because Armand and Desiree are in conflict for over half the story. In the letter that Armand reads from his mother, she writes that he “belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery.” This reveals that it is actually Armand who has black ancestry, not Désirée. Often these three issues are interconnected, as in the role of La Blanche, a slave of Armand’s, who also seems to have a sexual relationship with him. However, consider how Désirée is a passive bystander, claimed by others during both of these transitions. While Désirée could have listened to her mother and returned to Valmondé, her confidence and self-esteem were so shattered by her husband and her position in society that she likely felt that she had no other recourse. 2 Aug. 2019. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. © 2020, Inc. All Rights Reserved. People assume Armand is white, even though his mother was not, because his father was white and well-respected and, most importantly, because his father treated Armand as his son. The Valmondés experience a fate similar to that of Desiree, especially Madame Valmondé, who was incredibly fond of Desiree, despite the fact that she was adopted. In this context, it is associated with the concept of destiny, suggesting that it was God’s plan that the Valmondés find Désirée and adopt her. This is in contrast to Desiree's uncertainty and unwillingness to let go. Here, the narrator tells the reader that Armand has been at La Blanche’s cabin, implying that Armand has or has had a sexual relationship with her. Course Hero. Because this story was written during the late 1800s, women’s suppression was normal. See in text (Désirée's Baby). In contrast, some light-skinned people in the story are enslaved merely because their mothers were enslaved. Browse Library, Teacher Memberships If we recall the story’s last image of fire, which is associated with Armand’s burning passion for Désirée, then this passage becomes even more symbolic. Desiree lives with her husband in a dreary little town. Both stories have a young married woman as the main character: Desiree and Mrs. Mallard. Désirée’s decision to end her own life emphasizes just how deeply racist this society is. For God's sake tell them it is not true." The consequences of this are so enormous that Désirée appears to give up on life, apparently choosing to kill herself and her baby rather than go on living. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. When she asks him if she should leave, Armand tells her, "Yes, I want you to go." Chopin is subtle, but very effective, in criticizing marriage and the role and position of women during the Victorian Era. Course Hero. Show More. In contrast with Madame Valmondé’s positive outlook on God and destiny, Armand assumes that God is punishing him “unjustly.” Armand sees his child’s heritage as a “cruel” and intentional curse from God. Teachers and parents! Désirée's Baby" was included in Chopin's collection Bayou Folk in 1894. 2330 Words 10 Pages. The story also occurs in the 1800s when women were expected to be housewives. “Désirée’s Baby” themes As we explain in the questions and answers below, readers often see this as a story about racism–defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

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