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Essay Désirée's Baby by Kate Chopin

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A tale of tragic injustice, “Désirée's Baby” explores racism at its worst, through a falling out of love because of it. Kate Chopin, who was born in 1851, died in 1904 when she was about 53 years old (Chopin 150). She wrote “Désirée's Baby” in 1894(Chopin 150). It is a short, to-the-point depiction of racism and injustice in Louisiana during before the Civil war (Chopin 150). It is set on a plantation called L'Abri, which is the family home of the Aubignys (Chopin 150). The main characters are Désirée, Armand Aubigny, and Madame Valmonde. Désirée was found by Monsieur Valmonde when she was a baby left by the side of the road. He and Madame Valmonde adopted her and raised her. She grew into a sweet, sensitive young lady, and when she was a little more than eighteen Armand Aubigny fell in love with her in the same place she had been found as a child (Chopin 150). Although her origin and parentage is not known, Armand decides to marry her. The main action of the story takes place soon after she has had their first child, a son. Armand's mother died when he was quite young. As their baby gets a bit older, it becomes obvious that he is not entirely white, meaning one of his predecessors was black. Armand, believing that it is Désirée who carries the black in her blood, and that he has been tricked by God, sends mother and child away. He finds out too late that the black genes came from his own mother. “Désirée's Baby” is sharply pointed, like an arrow aimed straight at the heart of racial hatred and, more importantly, people's tendency to make harsh judgments out of their own ignorance or animosity. In her story, Chopin makes use of literary devices such as simile, foreshadowing, and irony, while using the viewpoint of an omniscient th...


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...vel. As a whole, Chopin has painted a warning sign for her readers. One that can be read, and should be heeded, in any time period, by any people, in any place: to make a judgment out of hate, without sufficient information, is injustice and folly, and will be cause for great regret.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. “Désirée's Baby.” The Literature Collection. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Pearson Education, Inc. 2013. 150. Web.
"foreshadowing." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. n.d. 25 Apr. 2014.
"irony." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. n.d. 25 Apr. 2014.
"omniscient." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. n.d. 25 Apr. 2014.
"simile." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. n.d. 25 Apr. 2014.
"third person." Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. n.d. 25 Apr. 2014.



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