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Desiree's Baby Critical Analysis Essay

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“Desiree’s Baby”, written by Kate Chopin, takes place in the late 1800s, during a time of class and racial conflict. The story highlights just where blacks stood in society by sharing the treatment that blacks got as slaves, as well as the pride that the white citizens have over themselves. Blacks were typically seen in a much lower tier then their white counter parts, and to have them both on the same level is unfathomable. “Desiree’s Baby” uses pride to show that people tend to care more about themselves and aren’t who they say they are. Desiree was a child who was adopted into the Valmonde family after she was found in passing. Due to being adopted, nothing was known about Desiree, her entire background being a mystery. As Desiree grew…show more content…
He would try to stay out of the house, and when he had to be there then he would avoid both Desiree and the child with no reasoning. He also returned to his previous treatment of the slaves. After sometime, Desiree started to notice some of the features that her son had, then pieced it together with Armand’s behavior. It made her realize that her son had black in him, and due to her birth being unknown, she thought it was her. However, just to be sure, she went to Armand who told her that it had to be because of her heritage. In disbelief to this news, Desiree wrote to her mother saying that she could not live with herself if she actually was black. “Armand has told me I am not white. For God 's sake tell them it is not true” (Chopin). This reaction that Desiree had was probably a result of how ingrained in society it was that blacks were not desirable. But after that letter was sent, all she heard back from her mother was to return home. When she went to Armand to inform him that her mother wants her back home, he showed no empathy and sent her away. Armand’s name was already seen as old and full of pride. “What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana?” (Chopin). He chose to keep the honor his name held then hold onto the wife and child he once…show more content…
It was already made clear multiple times throughout the story how Desiree felt about all the changes that were occurring. She was miserable and saw no point in living. After knowing that, it is easy to infer that she chose to drown herself and her child, rather than going home to her mother. A few weeks after leaving, Armand holds a large bonfire in his yard burning all the belongings of Desiree’s and the baby’s. Everything from clothing, to the crib the baby slept in, to the early letters that were exchanged between the two of them before marriage. Among those letters, was one from his mother to his father. The letter explains why she left, stating she was happy to be away because it meant that Armand would grow up not knowing that his mother was actually black. The fact that Armand had this letter in his possession means that he knew for some time the truth of his heritage. However, to keep from harming his name, he led Desiree to believe that she was the black parent, which led to her untimely demise. In conclusion, Chopin’s story explains how life in the late 1800s treated black people, as well as where white people traditionally stood on the social ladder in comparison. Most rich whites owned slaves that were treated poorly, much like Armand’s before the marriage and after the child grew. It also explained that having any black in the family was shameful