The Boarding House By James Joyce And Desiree 's Baby Essay

The Boarding House By James Joyce And Desiree 's Baby Essay

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In the stories “The Boarding House” by James Joyce and “Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin, it’s ironic how different these two stories plots are, yet they are dealing with the same problem. The protagonists let their social status and the opinions of others come between their relationships instead of basing their decisions on modesty and love. In “The Boarding House,” Mr. Doran is one of the boarders and he is having an affair with a young woman named Polly, the owner of the boarding house’ daughter. He has to decide whether or not to marry Polly in order to save this perception people have of him. In “Desiree’s Baby” Armand marries an orphan woman, “She was nameless… What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana?” (Chopin 1). It didn’t matter until later she gave birth to a biracial baby, which caused Armand to accuse Desiree of not being white and forcing her with no other option but to leave with her child; Armand did not want other people to know that he had a child of African American descent or that his wife may be too.
In both stories, it is proven that marriage is not always based solely on love but based on other factors that so that one person is able to fit into the norms of a specific society and period. “Desiree’s Baby” took place during slavery, a time when having biracial children was looked down upon but it happened quite often. When Armand realized that his baby was biracial all he could think about was what other people would think of him and how he must uphold this idea of being a confident and wealthy, fully white man with a strong and well-known last name. He even considered that he was being punished by God, “almighty God had dealt cruelly and unjustly w...


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...he antagonists, Polly and Desiree or about how they felt with the situations they were in. Leaving them with no choice but to remove themselves from the heartbreaking decisions their mates had made without a second thought. Polly made it clear that she would “put an end to herself”, while Desiree packed up and left along with her baby. Although Polly did not actually put an end to herself, it was Mr. Doran’s selfish actions and thoughts that drove her to that point of wanting to kill herself. It is not clear what really happened to Desiree and the baby, it is implied that she took her own life as well as the baby’s.
In conclusion, the recurring theme of these two stories proves that a lot of times in a marriage or in any relationship the norms of a society or period of time and social status have an enormous amount of influence than love does or will ever have.

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