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...
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...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.
Chopin, Kate. “Desiree’s Baby.” Handout. New Jersey Institute of Technology. Newark, NJ. N.d.
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