Kate Chopin's Desiree's Baby

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Desiree's Baby is a short story written by Kate Chopin. It is set in

19th century Louisiana. The story starts with Madame Valmonde going to

visit Desiree and her baby. She thinks back on her memories of Desiree

as a baby:

"It made her laugh to think of Desiree with a baby.

Why it seemed but yesterday that Desiree was little

more than a baby herself."

This quote tells us two things. The first is that Madame Valmonde must

have known Desiree as a child and is either a close family friend of

even a member of the family herself. The second thing is that Desiree

is young. The word "baby" could either mean childlike or physically

young. Desiree seemed to be a normal child and had had a normal

childhood. The third paragraph tells us more about Desiree's

background:

"She had been purposely left by a band of passing

Texans."

This makes us think that she he had been abandoned at a very young age

outside Madame Valmonde´s home. We can also tell from paragraph five

that "She was nameless."

No one knew what her name was or what her family background was like.

It was all a rumour.

Eighteen years after this, Armand Aubigny fell in love with Desiree.

From the fifth paragraph of the first page we can tell that Armand was

very proud of his family name.

"What did it matter about a name when he could give

her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana?"

This is a very old fashioned point of view. To Armand, his name was

everything. There is a very strong social contrast between the

nameless Desiree and Armand.

Signs of racism become apparent in the book on page 67:

"Young Aubigny´s rule was a strict one, too, and under

it his Negroes had forgotten how to be happy."

Armand must have treated them very harshly and made them unhappy. His

home is described as being sad looking and quite dreary.

The second paragraph of page 67 gives the reader a description of the

type of home Armand owns. There are muslins, a couch decorated with

laces, there are also slaves. Madame Valmonde´s first reaction to the

baby was one of shock and astonishment:

"This is not the baby!"

Theoretically this isn't very significant because babies tend to grow

very quickly and their outward appearance can change very fast. The

eighth paragraph on this page gives us a hint at why Madame Valmondé

was so startled when she first saw the baby.

"Madame Valmonde had never removed her eyes from the

child. She lifted it and walked with it over to the window
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