In the story of “Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin, there are many literary themes that can be analyzed such as love, racism, gender inequality, and miscegenation. What this analysis will focus on is primarily on the central male character, Armand Aubigny, and on his views towards racism. More specifically, what this essay will aim to prove is that Armand Aubigny looked down upon the African race to the point where he hated them. One of the biggest driving points to aid this idea is how his family name shaped his behavior and actions according to the societal normalities of his time period. Another important aspect that will be considered is his very relationship towards his slaves in how he treated them cruelly even to the point where he is described as “having the spirit of Satan” (Chopin 3). In addition to this, the reader will also see Armand’s negative reaction to being aware of the implications of his son and wife having mixed blood in where he practically disowns them. With all this culminating to Armand finding out the ugly truth that the race he had treated so horribly is actually a part of his very own blood as well. Armand Aubigny took pride in his family name to the point where it influenced his viewpoint towards his slaves. In the story it says “What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana” (Chopin 1)? Typically in the South, the aristocratic family name meant everything in terms of identity, wealth, and power. Back in the antebellum period, segregation and slavery was accepted as it was deeply engraved in the Southern culture. To be a slave meant to be of the lowest in the social ladder as they were considered property, while the big plantation and slave owner... ... middle of paper ... ...ne major proponent that affected Aubigny’s outlook upon the African race was how his family name played in relation to the Southern culture. Another part that was analyzed was how Armand actually treated his slaves from making them forget how to be happy to him severely punishing them at the expense of his biracial child. Also in the context that his child was part African served as a catalyst for his change of heart from love to hate towards his wife which then terminated to his banishment of his wife and son. In the end of it all, the reader has seen the adverse and destructive effects that racism can have upon a select group of people and on society. From what Armand despised the most, was actually a part of him that he could never get rid of. Works Cited Chopin, Kate. “Desiree’s Baby.” Handout. New Jersey Institute of Technology. Newark, NJ. N.d. Print.
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The motivation behind this article is to analyze why Armand 's pride was greater and more than the affection for his better half, Desiree and how race changed everything. All through this story, Armand is depicted as the man who had it all. He assumed that on account of his family name which he believed was, "… one of the most established and proudest in Louisiana" (Chopin 1). The way that Armand was a slave proprietor and originated from a family whose name was notable he utilized his family name as another approach to feel like a lord other than owning slaves. Armand 's pride started things out before his family since he had an inclination that he needed to secure the family name and history at any cost. For this he didn 't need anything to pulverize who and what he was which was an outstanding slave proprietor, so he advised his better half and child to leave since he expected that she was dark. Armand did not need individuals to disapprove of him or make him into a joke in this way, he felt like "… he no longer cherished her, in light of the oblivious harm she had brought upon his home and his name" (Chopin 2). The "oblivious damage" Armand alludes to is the lost memory he feels his better half has lost of her ethnicity. At long last, Armand felt that his pride was harmed on account of the disgrace his significant other has conveyed to the family name of Aubigny. Race is the second significant issue in the short story other than pride. Since Armand assumed that he knew his past and who he really was and he accepted that Desiree was the motivation behind why their child is blended. Additionally, as a result of the way that Desiree was received and did not realize what her ethnicity was Armand felt like her race, which he accepted was dark, changes everything. Race is a shading not a source and Desiree looked white and white components
Where there was such love and joy, there would be nothing but coldness for her once Armand felt betrayed by the baby’s skin color, “Armand, she panted once more, clutching his arm, look at our child. What does it mean? He coldly, but gently loosened her fingers from about his arm and thrust the hand away from him, tell me what it means! She cried despairingly, it means, he answered lightly, that the child is not white, it means that you are not white”. (83) The L’abri held many secrets that in the end would reveal the harsh truth and the reality that Desiree’s and the baby’s death was in vain, if only Armand’s mother had not withheld his true blood line. “night and day, I thank the good God for having so arranged our lives that our dear Armand will never know that his mother, who adores him, belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery.” (84) The L’abri also symbolizes class and wealth of the Aubigny family, the trips to France, and the Clothing (Corbeille, Peignoir, Muslins, and laces) special ordered from Paris show the wealth of the family, as well as the higher-class
When Désirée had the baby, her mother noticed immediately that something was wrong with the baby; Madame Valmonde screamed “This is not the baby!” It wasn’t until when the baby was 3 months old that Désirée noticed the appearance of the baby and demanded an answer from Armand. Armand noticed this early already, so he told Désirée that she was at fault for the baby being black, “It means,” he answered lightly, “that the child is not white; it means that you are not white” (424). Désirée believed this because no one knew of her past. This distinctly shows how Désirée’s character lives to learn how close racism and male dominance can get in Southern life. For instance, when Armand says, “The child is not white; it means that you are not white” (424). This is when Armand realizes his wife is not the same as he is, and from this moment on, wants nothing to do with either her or their child. In the beginning of the story, Armand was deeply in love with Désirée, and still was, until the moment he realized their baby was not white. This is a glimpse of how life was in the South. Chopin offers a compelling vision of the class-based and racial prejudice of the South. As many critics would agree, Chopin’s stories have “the freshness which springs from an unexplored field—the quaint and picturesque life among the Creole and Acadian folk of the
“Désirée ’s Baby” is a mix feelings story. It is an intriguing, captivating, and sad short story which reflects her experience among the French creoles in Louisiana (Chopin). I used “sad”, because it shows the level of hatred the white has towards black. The story is about two two families in Louisiana: the Valmonde and the L’ Abri. The story focuses on human relationships; the lives and characters of both family members are subtly portrayed in comparison. The story tells about love, slavery, and racism. Hypocrisy of patriarchal society, gender conflicts, and injustice of racial prejudice are depicted in the story. In the story, racism victimizes everybody without equivalent consequence. The story is heaped with ironies. The narrator uses symbolism and irony to convey the themes of half-blood, racial hatred, unequal gender roles, and social ladder. Irony and symbolism are also used to enhance the story, captivating the minds of the reader until the very end.
In “Desiree’s Baby,” a short story by Kate Chopin, there were three major themes: identity, racism, and gender roles. Armand has demonstrated his actual true character. He was a coldblooded, one-sided, and non caring man who was not worthy of Desiree and her kid. Armand broke his marriage promise to Desiree and his parental obligation due to his prejudgment toward the child's race. Chopin also noted a lady’s place in marriage in the mid-nineteenth century. They had nothing to do with money related transactions, political, or social issues. Everything had its place with the man including the
The characterization of Armand showed that he knew all along about his ethnicity. Armand wanted to cope with his insecurities and feel to his slaves, which is evident in the following example: “…young Aubigny’s rule was strict and under it his Negroes had forgotten, how to be gay as they had been during their old master who was easy going and indulgent in his lifetime” (Chopin 708). Armand was afraid people in the community might get to know about his secret. For example, when Desiree is confronting him, she asks, “Do you want me to go?” (710). Armand replies, “Yes I want you to go” (710). Armand immediately makes up his mind to allow her t...
Racism dates back thousands and thousands of years back to the caveman times. In the short story “Desiree’s Baby”, Kate Chopin shows how discrimination by skin color can affect people. Desiree was abandoned and raised by Madame Valmonde. Armand, the father of the baby, was a member of the most notable families in Louisiana. He falls in love with Desiree and marries her. After they have a baby, their relationship quickly corrodes. A few months later, Armand realizes the baby’s skin has a darker tint than usual. He accuses Desiree of being black. Armand tells Desiree he wants her to leave so Desiree takes the baby and “disappears among the reeds and willows that grew thick along the banks of the deep, sluggish bayou” (Chopin 91) and never returns. Armand finds out that Desiree is black when he reads a letter that her mother sent her that read “she belongs to the race which is cursed with the brand of slavery” (Chopin 92). The story’s ironic ending has a connection with the story’s setting, imagery, and Chopin’s use of similies.
In “Desiree Baby”, author, Chopin emphasizes racism by selecting certain words to symbolize the association between light and darkness, and the slaves on the plantation.
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
In the short story Desiree’s Baby by Kate Chopin, there are many examples of foreshadowing that provides the reader with insight on the events to come. Chopin constantly hints at the importance of lineage and origin which informs the readers that it will play a large part within the plot. Significant families in the South take pride in their heritage and name which are seemingly important to Armand; important enough to abandon his wife and child. In the ending, it is revealed to the readers that Armand is the one who is not completely white (Chopin 5). The story does not tell whether Armand knew the entire time or he was just finding out from reading the letter. There are many times throughout Desiree’s Baby that infers that Armand knew about where he came from before he even met Desiree.
This essay will focus on the short story by Kate Chopin and its use of symbols, setting and characters. Desiree’s baby was perhaps one of the best stories I’ve ever read. Analyzing it was not easy at all. Its use of symbols was very hard to comprehend. At first, it doesn’t make sense. But as you think critically, all the symbols, and setting and the characters in this literature plunge together in one amazing story.
That was the way all the Aubignys fell in love, as if struck by a pistol shot…The passion that awoke in his that day, when he saw her at the gate, swept along like an avalanche, or like a prairie fire, or like everything that drives headlong over all obstacles.”(47). Most often, such love does not last, it is like a fire that ignite some dry straw but it is consumed very quickly. The true love was the one between Armand’s father and his wife, which was of black race. To be with her, he left his plantation and his important name in Louisiana and went to live in France, a land foreign to him, just to offer an easier life to his wife, “But, above all, she wrote, “night and day, I thank the good God for having so arranged our lives that our dear Armand will never know that his mother, who adores him, belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery.” (Chopin 52). To show his love for Desiree and their baby, Armand could do the same thing his father did many years ago, but his attitude towards Desiree looks like in fact his love was just one who pass away went something wrong happened in their life, when life 's challenges arise. The true love is when you can’t live without another person, when his/her happiness is your happiness, “This was what made
Throughout time, humans struggled with issues of conformity and individuality. In the modern world, individuality is idealized, as it is associated with strength. Weak individuals are usually portrayed as conforming to society and having almost no personal ideas. In “Desiree’s Baby”, a short story, the author Kate Chopin deals with the struggles of African descendants in the French colonies during the time of slave labor. The protagonist is a white woman named Desiree who is of unknown origin and birth as she was found abandoned as an infant at an aristocrat’s doorstep. Eighteen years after her discovery, she and a fellow aristocrat, Armand Aubigny, fall in love and get married. They soon have a child, yet conflict arises when the child is discovered to be black. The young family is destroyed when the baby’s father, Armand, refuses to accept the child. In “Desiree’s Baby”, Chopin demonstrates through Armand’s conflicts how weak humans conform to environmental norms.
... be part of that race. He did not want his well looked upon family name to be ruined. He was portrayed as a man who had it all. He had a reputation to keep maintained and Armand being part black would have ruined it. He owned a plantation and was a slave master. Racism did play a major role because when Armand found out that the baby was mixed everything changed such as Armand’s mood and Desiree’s happiness. She seemed to be very jolly and happy. Armand was also content. He was pleasant to the slaves. After he saw his child growing to be mixed it changed his whole attitude. He did not love the child genuinely because love is unconditional. He was more concerned about the race of the child. This was a great short story to read and it gave me insight on the importance and seriousness of our society back then. I am glad we have overcome these terrible racial matters.