"Desiree's Baby" is Kate Chopin's most well-known short story and most anthologized piece of work. The story takes place in southern Louisiana and her writing reflects her Creole-French descent. Chopin begins the story with a descriptive quote, "when she reached L'Abri she shuddered at the first sight of it, as she always did. It was a sad looking place...Big solemn oaks grew close to it and their thick leaved, far-reaching branches shadowed it like a pall" (185). The preceding quote gives the reader an eerie feeling and foreshadows an unpleasant ending to the story. Throughout "Desiree's Baby," Kate Chopin uses symbolism to convey her themes of racial prejudice, unequal gender roles, and social hierarchy in a patriarchal society.
During Chopin's lifetime, African Americans were considered inferior to whites and often worked as slaves for the wealthy, white families in the south. Early in the story the narrator describes the scenery of the plantation, L'Abri, and says, "young Aubigny's rule was a strict one, too, and under it his negroes had forgotten how to be gay, as they had been during the old master's easy-going and indulgent lifetime" (185). This shows Aubigny's egotism and apathy toward his slaves. His treatment of the slaves as possessions rather than human beings reveals that Aubigny has no consideration when dealing with blacks. Chopin allows the audience to see Aubigny's sudden change in character once he falls in love with Desiree as a foreshadowing mechanism. Aubigny's fickleness is shown later in the story after he notices the uncanny resemblance between his child and the slave boys. Aubigny refuses to believe that he comes from African descent and instead forces ...
... middle of paper ...
...eral important issues in her short story, including the nature of racism, social castes, and the fulfillment of a woman's identity. Chopin portrays Desiree as a woman whose self-worth is controlled by her husband. Kate Chopin is now recognized for her initial examination of sexuality, individual freedom, and exploration of the consequences of actions. Chopin successfully shows the themes of racism, gender prejudice, and social castes by using elements such as symbolism in the short story "Desiree's Baby." Chopin incorporates irony into her story in order to magnify important issues such as discrimination and the rise of feminism in a patriarchal society.
Chopin, Kate. "Desiree's Baby." Literature and the Writing Process. 7th ed. Eds. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 2002.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Kate Chopin's Desiree's Baby 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.... [tags: Kate Chopin Desiree's Baby]
1392 words (4 pages)
- When I think about starting over, I am often reminded of Armand in the story of “Desiree Baby”. Armand, the protagonist in the story built a bonfire in the efforts of trying to erase away the memory of his wife Desiree, and his son. Armand’s bonfire symbolizes Armand wanting to start over and forget his past. Throughout the short story many elements of symbolism was used to convey a central message those include discussing symbols of racism, social class distinction, and the symbolic elements involving the difference between the gender roles.... [tags: Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin]
1175 words (3.4 pages)
- ... Then, the second paragraph is a flashback to when Desiree was a baby. In Paragraphs two and three shows that Madame Valmonde is part of Desiree’s identity because Madame Valmonde and her husband found Desiree by their “gateway of Valmonde” (Chopin 1519). Part of Desiree’s identity comes from Madame Valmonde because her mother believes “that Desiree had been sent to her by a beneficent Providence to be the child of her affection” (Chopin 1519). This quote shows that Desiree is an orphan and was adopted by the Valmondes and was used by them to make them happy.... [tags: Short story, Marriage, Fiction, According to Jim]
1095 words (3.1 pages)
- Throughout the years many variations of the ideas on race, class, and culture have been presented based upon different factors. In earlier times people’s views were not nearly the same as they are presented today. Ideas that women belong in the kitchen or that African-American’s were an inferior race were common. Those views were very popular during the time of Kate Chopin’s book “Desiree’s Baby.” Chopin’s book explores the controversial areas of race and class as well as touching on the subject of culture.... [tags: Race, Class, Culture, Novel Analysis]
1140 words (3.3 pages)
- In the stories, “Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin and “Trespass” by Julia Alvarez, the plot mainly revolves around race issues and also includes sexism. In relations of race the difference between being white or black or Hispanic shows a vital importance in the characters’ lives through the stories. As Desiree and Armand both originally associate themselves with the white people, once the plot unveils their black inheritance they are faced with uncertainty, and eventually their lives become meaningless and not worth living.... [tags: Race, White people, Black people, Race]
948 words (2.7 pages)
- “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.... [tags: love, slavery, racism, gender]
1838 words (5.3 pages)
- "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin "Desiree's Baby", by Kate Chopin, is a story about the effect love and pride have on our actions. Love changes people for the better. "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." Pride, however, can have the opposite effect.... [tags: Kate Chopin Desiree's Baby]
864 words (2.5 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin]
1756 words (5 pages)
- "Desiree's Baby', is about a young lady who was nameless and abandoned as a child. Desiree was a child who's future was uncertain until she was found by the Valmonde family. During this time of the Valmondes' life, they had not been blessed with any children, therefore they took in Desiree and raised her as their own child. From the very beginning of the story, I knew that this would be something that I would enjoy. The Valmonde's taking in this child as their own, is two blessing in one. Desiree gets the love and support that she needs from parents; and the Valmonde's get a child that they are now able to give love and support to.... [tags: Kate Chopin's Desiree's Baby]
394 words (1.1 pages)
- Kate Chopin’s Short Story “Desiree’s Baby” In Kate Chopin’s short story, “Desiree’s Baby”, she demonstrates how racism played a major part in people’s lives in the 1800’s. Kate Chopin is extremely successful in getting her readers to feel disturbed by the events in the story. Through words and images, the reader feels touched by the story, either by relating to it at some points or when confronted with things we frequently decide to ignore in the world: the evil some human beings are capable of possessing.... [tags: Kate Chopin Desiree?s Baby Essays]
882 words (2.5 pages)