Desirees Baby By Kate Chopin Essay, Research Paper
“Desiree’s Baby,” by Kate Chopin, takes place in Louisiana during the time of slavery. The story involves Desiree, a woman of an unknown past, and her husband Armand, a man from a powerful and wealthy family. At first, they seem to be a happy and loving family, but when their first child is born, things change. When their child is born, its skin is darker and Armand believes it to be of mixed race. Immediately he blames his wife Desiree, and being that she was adopted at a young age and having no recollection of her natural parents, she can’t deny this. In a fit of rage, Armand sends her away, in disgrace and in hope of saving the family name. She was sent back to her mother with her baby, to be away from Armand. Desiree doesn t go though, she takes her and her baby down into the bayou, and ends their life. Weeks later, as Armand is destroying the last remnants of Desiree’s life with him, he stumbles upon a letter written to his father, from his mother. In this letter, he discovers that it was his mother that was black. He seems appalled at discovering his child is mixed, but several details show that Armand may have already known that it was his mother was black.
The true origin of Desiree was unknown. She was adopted at a young age and her true parents are a mystery. It is quite possible that in an effort to hide the fact that that he was of a mixed race, he would marry a woman of questionable origin (www.ofcn.com). This would remove all doubt that he, someone of high power and importance, could possibly not be of mixed race, and not be as “pure” as everyone though.
Armand could also be in denial. He found the letter proving himself the reason his baby was mixed, in with letters Desiree wrote to him. It seems hard to believe that after all this time, he has never seen this, since it was kept in with his own belongings. He in fact may be projecting his hatred and fear of himself onto Desiree (www.spiderzine.com).
Chopin uses a good deal of foreshadowing in this story (www.kutztown.com). “But Armands dark, handsome face .,” she writes, before the conflict is really established, shows before hand that he has darkness about him. “Look at my hand Armand, whiter than yours,” Desiree screams in anguish, but no avail, as Armand ignores her comment, still possibly in full denial that he isn’t “pure”.
Desiree’s baby is more than just a short story, it s a commentary on life, applicable not just in the time of slavery, but in today’s society. Armand forces himself to believe things how he sees them to be accurate, as when Desiree points out the darkness of his skin, he ignores her. Chopin shows that people, when so indoctrinated by their beliefs, will go to any lengths to preserve what they believe, whether right or wrong.