Kate Chopin’s Short Story Desiree’s Baby Essay example
891 Words4 Pages
Kate Chopin’s Short Story “Desiree’s Baby”
In Kate Chopin’s short story, “Desiree’s Baby”, she demonstrates how racism played a major part in people’s lives in the 1800’s. Kate Chopin is extremely successful in getting her readers to feel disturbed by the events in the story. Through words and images, the reader feels touched by the story, either by relating to it at some points or when confronted with things we frequently decide to ignore in the world: the evil some human beings are capable of possessing.
Chopin introduces the story with pleasant images and events; she enchants the reader with fairy tales. A woman who cannot have children is blessed with the most “beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere” (31) of…show more content…
The writer ends the first phase of the tale with Desiree’s expression of her feelings at that point: “Oh mamma, I’m so happy; it frightens me” (32). This comment is both a conclusion of the first phase of the story and a prediction of what’s to come next.
In the next segment of the account, Chopin breaks the enchantment and the readers’ hearts when she turns a fairy tale into a horror show. Armand’s behavior towards Desiree changes drastically, as for “when he spoke to her, it was with averted eyes, from which the old love-light seemed to have gone out.” “He absented himself from home; and when there, avoided her presence and that of her child, without excuse” (32). Armand’s attitude did not only change towards his wife, but also towards the slaves as if “the spirit of Satan seemed suddenly to take hold of him” (32). Desiree then finds out the reason for her husband’s change of conduct is the fact that their child is not white. The considerable change of mood in the story intensifies the already shocking events. As people are always looking for the “soul mate” and the “happy ever after” ending, it’s both disappointing and disturbing to see a beautiful dream turn into a nightmare.
Chopin ends the story with the most displeasing images of all. I hope it’s agreeable (even though it is something which still happens much too often in the world today) that
[Type text] [Type text] [Type text] In the Deep South, during the late 1800’s and many decades of the 1900’s, blacks and whites were forced in separate directions and blacks were seen as the inferior race. At this time, a small, almost unnoticeable, portion of African blood made a person an African American and therefore less than the white man. Some mixed race individuals were able to pass as white and hide their African American heritage while others did not have this option and were forced to let their true colors show. These visibly mixed race individuals were forced to feel the wrath of the white superiors and suffer along with the lower class blacks and slaves. Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby” discusses the issue of racism and the vital importance of being a part of the dominant race of society and this need propels individuals to go to great lengths to protect their families and their family name. Desiree is a girl of “obscure origin” (Chopin 205); she does not know who she is or where she is from and therefore does not have a powerful family name to protect. But this lack of origin and information about Desiree does not stop a young suitor from asking for her hand in marriage. Armand Aubigny wants to marry Desiree and does not care that she is of unknown origin; he does not care that she does not have a family name because he will give her one, and not just any name, but one of the oldest and proudest in the state of Louisiana (Chopin 205). Desiree and Armand wed and move to an Aubigny family house where the first signs of Armand’s poor treatment of others and racist behaviors can be seen: “Young Aubigny’s rule was a strict one, too, and under it his negroes had forgotten how to be gay, as they had been during the old master’s easy-going and indulgent lifetime” (Chopin 205). Armand takes so much pride in his family name and the history associated with it that he thinks behaving in such a way is necessary to carry out tradition.