Looking through Desiree's Baby

Looking through Desiree's Baby

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I see a place, a mythical place, it is not a house, it is certainly not a home it is a concoction of all its surroundings, it embodies a mystique of feelings unspoken, locked in ones heart by a key that one wishes that no one will find. Only in Hollywood can such a picture be presented to an audience that would see something that was opulent and gaudy, large but not homey, cold but not warm. You sense that something so beautiful, this mansion, like a person you fall in love with has flaws and yes, those secrets, those secrets. As time goes on the participants in our little tragedy start to see the flaws and those secrets unravel like a fine piece of silk that has snagged on a splinter. We see the secrets start as almost a little ripple on the water that was tickled by the wind. Was Desiree the poor abandoned child of those raucous Texans? Let us forget that for is not the child an angel sent by Providence to bring pleasure to our lives just as Moses brought pleasure to Pharaoh's daughter?

As our Desiree grow to maturity she is admired by a gallant young man with no true tried talents except his was born of the loins (or so we thought) of a rich father. Cupid strikes, the two are infected by love. Credentials are checked, but not too closely and the marriage is celebrated I'm sure in an almost mythical way as would only be fitting in our mythical mansion. The finest in wedding presents are obtained from France, Paris I would presume. The vanity flows like grog down a pirate's throat. Armand (I can't stop thinking of a bronze colored almond) is our Jupiter. He rules with the strength, determination and self-centeredness of a man with the pedigree of inheritance can anoint. As time will have and biology dictates a child is born. Armand is softened momentarily by the sweet smell of powder, the softness of skin, and the innocence of a creature of god that has not yet eaten the apple of human personality. He is proud, he is happy and he displays it outwardly even to his slaves. Such kindness. As our child grows and his physical appearance takes a more noticeable turn, people notice, they look and whisper.... whispers... oh those whispers. Whispers, the forerunners to secrets that will soon, no must be revealed.

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In one small instance our Desiree sees what others are seeing. She sees the child next to a quadroon that is a person who has one of his grandparents of another color. The clouds break and a torrent of shock fall from the heavens. The child is mixed! Panic sets in as the irrational takes command. Armand withdraws into a world of self-pity, anger and depression. Her retreats from Desiree and the child, our little child, gods own little innocent. He is sully and most probably lashes out to everyone he sees. Overcome with what he considers to be an affront to his social standing he burns everything that reminds him of his love and affection for Desiree and his child. He fuels the fire with gifts, clothes and private little things that once seemed so precious and that now are red hot pokers that singe his soul and torment him endlessly.

In the glow of this pyre he happens across a letter written by his mother to his father establishing the fact that he, yes he our noble Armand that carries this mark of Shem. It is himself he hates. Everything that repulsed him is nothing more than a mirror that he holds in his own mulatto hands. God has wonderful ways of destroying false pride. This truth, I wonder will it set our little almond colored Armand free. Only self-reflection on his part can salvage what is left of a self-ravaged soul. We are left unaware as to the deposition of the child and Desiree. I sense the time was circa 1840 and prospects were dim on such delicate people such as the child and Desiree.

I found the irony of the story delicious and if Ms. Chopin did not write this Hollywood would have. It has all the sensation of a scandal that still titillates the great unwashed even today. Peaking into dirty laundry is an international pastime that has never gone away. One may ponder will society ever change, lets pray that it won't. What in the world would writers write about?
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