Constructing an environment in which the one-drop rule should theoretically thrive, Chopin places Desiree in a southern plantation where she can be made black easily, but more significantly, where blackness carries significant consequences. Despite Desiree’s ability to effortlessly assimilate into southern society, taking on the role of the “beautiful, gentle, affectionate and sincere” southern belle, the story never loses sight of her “obscure origin” (Chopin 440). As a result, Desiree is not...
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...gressive, the system’s failure stems from its inability to preserve the racial divide of the time. At the story’s end, the cruel black slave owner remains in power while the white southern belle is exiled, her status having been revoked. With this in mind, the one-drop rule is not only criticized through Desiree’s tragic end as its premise is disproven using reductio ad absurdum. Chopin tests the one-drop rule in the racist setting in which it should theoretically thrive, but manipulating two of the subjects with the concept of an “unknown origin,” the system of racial categorization ceases to function effectively. As the hierarchy meant to be preserved falls apart, the one-drop rule exhibits apparent and irreparable flaws. Questioning the stability of the one-drop rule, the text displays a clear desire for a more dependable system of racial categorization.
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