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Essay about Analysis of Desiree’s Baby by Kate Chopin

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Desiree’s Baby and Southern Social Structure
The short story Desiree’s Baby by Kate Chopin provides a sobering depiction of how the dark forces of prejudice and social hierarchy tore apart a plantation owning family in the state of Louisiana. Desiree’s character is that of a lady who carries the burden of being submissive to a domineering husband, a role she keeps until the very end of the narrative. Desiree is portrayed as an agent of light so to speak throughout the plotline but is seriously blinded by her doglike allegiance to her husband Armand, who is in essence her master and her livelihood. The struggle for female independence is a signature theme in a number of Chopin’s works and was a struggle for women in the South during this time period (McCullough 413). Armand’s dominance over Desiree and her overall sense of well-being is certainly a reflection of the issue of sexist prejudice that Chopin chose to write about throughout her literary career. Chopin also depicts the racial prejudice in the South by revealing how blacks on the plantation are treated and by illustrating how severe the consequences were of Desiree and Armand’s baby being African American was. His dark personality coupled with the societal norm of male superiority enabled this toxic relationship structure to occur and helped shape the events following the discovery of the child being black. Armand’s role of master over the plantation workers was based on skin color and his birthright to the plantation which was reflective of Southern culture during the time period (Toth). It is abundantly clear that Desiree’s Baby serves as a microcosm of how societal hierarchy's and traditions that are rooted in elitist prejudice have a poisoning effect on those who are ...


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...ol every whim of his wife’s life and essentially her humanity. Chopin strikes an ironic dagger into the tradition of male superiority to women and the white elitism of the time by revealing that Armand was the one who was of mixed race (Minor). The slaves were the most concrete victims in the story who were subjugated to a master who used his control over them as an outlet for his own problems (Toth). The most powerful depiction of victimhood of the forces of prejudice is the child of Desiree and Armand, who finds his life taken from him due to parents who have a misguided sense of their purpose of life that is heavily polluted by the social structures and norms that they fell in line with for the duration of their lives. Prejudice served as the backbone of the power structure on the Aubigny plantation that ensnared all of those involved into a state of darkness.



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