"Desiree's Baby" is a short story by Kate Chopin, first published in 1893. It is about the complex dynamics of race, class, and gender in the antebellum South.
The story centers around the character of Desiree, a young woman who is married to a wealthy plantation owner named Armand. Despite their seemingly happy marriage, Armand is deeply troubled by something that he refuses to reveal to Desiree. It is eventually revealed that Armand is worried about the racial identity of their child, as he believes that Desiree is of mixed race.
The story is told from the perspective of an omniscient narrator, and it is clear that Armand's feelings of anxiety and shame are rooted in the deeply entrenched racial hierarchies of the time. His fear of being seen as inferior by his white peers drives him to treat Desiree cruelly, even going so far as to suggest that she leave their home and never return.
Despite the challenges she faces, Desiree remains a strong and determined character. She refuses to be driven away by her husband's cruelty, and instead stands up for herself and her child. In the end, it is revealed that Armand is actually of mixed race himself, and that it was his own insecurity and prejudice that caused him to turn against Desiree.
The story of Desiree's Baby is a poignant exploration of the ways in which societal expectations and prejudices can shape our relationships and our sense of self. It highlights the destructive power of hate and the importance of standing up for oneself in the face of injustice.
She says that it is a lie, and points out her brown hair and gray eyes. Eighteen years later, she was standing near the same stone pillar where she was found when Armand Aubigny rode by and fell in love with her at first sight. And, in fine, I could not have restrained my desires, nor remained satisfied had I not followed a path in which I thought myself certain of attaining all the knowledge to the acquisition of which I was competent, as well as the largest amount of what is truly good which I could ever hope to secure Inasmuch as we neither seek nor shun any object except in so far as our understanding represents it as good or bad, all that is necessary to right action is right judgment, and to the best action the most correct judgment, that is, to the acquisition of all the virtues with all else that is truly valuable and within our reach; and the assurance of such an acquisition cannot fail to render us contented. Armand believes that God has given him an unfair punishment in the form of his child and he turns his anger on his wife. This expression has its origin in the stimulation of the salivary glands by the appetizing sight or smell of food. Racism and Misogyny Kate Chopin's short story uses the themes of self-discovery, hypocrisy, and destruction to examine racism and misogyny in the American South prior to the Civil War. Désirée's predicament glaringly underscores the fact that women are also treated as disposable, second-class citizens during this period in the South.
She has noticed the suspicious moods of the slaves as well as the unusual visits from unexpected neighbors. By: Gloria Mason Henderson, Bill Day, and Sandra Stevenson Waller. Although this is a moment of profound self-discovery for Armand, we don't know if he feels the full extent of his hypocrisy toward blacks and biracial people. Armand's racially-based abuse of his slaves, wife, and son are deeply ironic and hypocritical. However, she loves her daughter and the baby, and she invites them to come live with her and her husband when Armand rejects them. Armand responds, as he coldly removes her hand from his arm, that it means that the child is not white, and therefore she, Désirée, is not white. It is October and the slaves are harvesting cotton in the fields.
He wanted her for what she brought him, not for who she is. He falls out of love with her and commands her to leave the house. Slowly she says that the child has indeed grown, and then she asks her daughter what Armand says about the baby. University Press of Mississippi, 1999: xv. She says that Négrillon, one of the slaves, pretended injury to avoid work and that Armand only laughed and called him a scamp. Désirée goes to him and grabs his arm, and asks him to look at their baby.
He notices this letter, one written from his mother to his father. Désirée retrieves her baby from Zandrine, and, without an explanation, she takes the child and walks outside. He leaves quietly and obediently, and Désirée remains, staring at her baby with an expression of fright. She disappears into the bayou with her baby and is never seen again. Madame Valmondé could have responded to this abandoned baby of mysterious origin as a nuisance or curse rather than a blessing.
One day, when the baby is three months old, Désirée wakes up in the morning with the feeling that her sense of peace will not last. This article was most recently revised and updated by. Since excruciating pain accompanies their extraction, this expression came to imply making a painful sacrifice. Both the gifts he gave Désirée and the idea that he can eliminate her from his life by burning them indicate how Armand always viewed Désirée as a possession rather than as a person. Alice Hall Petry, Cairns Collection of American Women Writers. Armand tells her to go, and when she asks again if he wants her to go, he responds that he does. Because Désirée loves her son, it takes her longer than everyone else to acknowledge the truth.
This speaks to the theme of Love and Blindness in the story. He's pointedly described as having a 'dark, handsome face. Désirée and her baby again appear in attitudes of extravagance and leisure. She does not walk down the road that leads toward Valmondé, but instead cuts across a field full of sharp stubble that destroys her slippers and her dress. Madame Valmondé responds with a short letter that asks her daughter to come home to Valmondé. My kingdom for a horse! Madame Valmondé is startled when she realizes Désirée's baby has biracial ancestry.
Armand, scornful of Désirée, tells her that he wants her to leave. Turn left onto School Street at the water tower. By purchasing this class you are stating that you have read the rules and are agreeing to them. Only after accusing Désirée of being biracial and sending her and the baby away, compelling her to commit suicide and murder, does the deeply racist and vicious Armand discover that he is biracial on his mother's side. Additionally, in a pre-Civil War Louisiana where keeping black slaves is the norm, readers are to assume that the family is white.
Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature. When she realizes the baby is partly black, however, 'the blood turn s like ice in her veins, and a clammy moisture gather s upon her face. The expression is thought to derive from ordeals involving fire and water which were common methods of trial in Anglo-Saxon times. She pleads with her mother to convince everyone that this is not true. Désirée calls his name in a voice that would have encouraged sympathy from any human, but Armand still ignores her.
We specialize in friendly, personalized service, with a commitment to meet and exceed your expectations! Shakespeare used the phrase in Julius Caesar: Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself Are much condemned to have an itching palm. But when Désirée gives birth to a child who is obviously of mixed racial ancestry, Armand forces her and the child into exile and to a tragic end and becomes more brutal toward his slaves. Besides owning and abusing black slaves, he values whiteness above even his own wife and son. It is our goal to provide our customers with a comfortable atmosphere to talk about sex and provide general information about sexual enhancement products for adults. Did the party of Texans who had crossed the river near the planation that very day leave her behind? Désirée is wearing a thin white dress and slippers.