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Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin - Research Paper Example

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Summary
Desiree’s Baby with an unexpected twist in the end tells us about presumptions made as effects of racial discriminations. Racism in all ages has caused pain and destruction of relationships. …
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Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin

Download file to see previous pages... This story was written at a time when interracial relationships were not accepted by the society. When Armand noticed that the baby has African-American blood, he instantly came to his own conclusion of Desiree’s family heritage. The story ends with a deserving lesson for Armand.

Desiree who was abandoned at birth was adopted by the Valmondes. She later on gets married to Armand Aubigny. Initially they have a happy married life. They seemed to be a devoted couple and then eventually Desiree gives birth to a son. When Madame Valmonde came to see the child, she found something unusual about him but was soon relieved when Desiree exclaimed how proud Armand was of his son. When the baby was three months old, Desiree and Armand realise that the skin colour of the baby is similar to that of a quadroon boy which means he has the blood of African-American. Since the family background of Desiree was not known, Armand immediately came to the conclusion that she has mixed blood. An instant change crept within Armand as he began to mistreat his slaves and also distanced himself from his wife and son and “when he spoke to her, it was with averted eyes, from which the old love-light seemed to have gone out”. When Armand refused to listen to the denials of Desiree, she was requested by Madame Valmonde to return to the Valmonde estate. Even Armand insisted Desiree to take herself and her son away from him. Then Desiree leaves with her child and walks off into a bayou. She was never seen again. Armand then burns all belongings of Desiree and the baby including all her letters to him. Among the letters there was one letter which was written by his mother to his father and this letter revealed the fact that Armand himself was of mixed blood. (Chopin, n.d) In this story the final fate of Desiree remained ambiguous. It was not clear whether she along with her son embraced death or whether she chose to live to bring up the baby away from Armand. One author James Trotman in his book mentions about the irony in Armand’s character. His own racial heritage was not clear to him, but still he rejected his wife and son after concluding that they are not worthy of him. When his mother’s letter revealed his own black ancestry, his own views on racism becomes pathetic. Before he noticed the skin colour of the baby, he was devoted to his wife and the baby. After he realised the mixed blood status of the baby he began to believe that “Almighty God had dealt cruelly and unjustly with him”. He now considered Desiree unfit to be his wife. Trotman also analyses Armand’s views on black and white women. Armand most probably had relationship with a black woman called La Blanche with whom he had a son because of the baby’s likeness to La Blanche’s son. For Armand, La Blanche was valuable only as servant and sexual partner because she was black. For him, Desiree had the right to give birth to his heir because of her white skin. When Desiree failed to meet his expectations, he discarded her with no second thoughts. All his love for her evaporated because of his own notions on racism. In a male dominated society Desiree’s life gets ruined after being abandoned by her husband. As a woman she becomes legally powerless because she has no right to accuse Armand. (Trotman, 2002, pp.131,132). In the end Desiree leaves with her baby and her whereabouts remain a mystery. It will be prudent to speculate that she might have settled in some other place where racial prejudice is not so much a curse. As a mother she might have thought of her son who is totally innocent and so deserves to lead a long and happy life. There is a book by Christopher Benfey which tells about the fate of Desiree. Armand becomes extremely angry on learning that his wife has borne him a mulatto child. The author without any doubt, concludes ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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