Desiree's Baby Essay

828 Words Nov 3rd, 2012 4 Pages
Gender, Race and Inequality in “Desiree’s Baby”

“Desiree’s Baby” is a tragic short story written by Kate Chopin. The story is about the struggle between the main characters Armand and his wife Desiree. The relationship is torn apart after they come to the realization that they have a quadroon baby or quarter black. Neither of them know that either one could be the cause of the mixed baby. Armand sees this as a curse to his family name and disowns Desiree and the baby. After Desiree and her baby are disowned by Armand, Desiree feels she has nothing to live for. She disappears into the bayou where we can only guess she kills herself. In the end, we learn that when Armand is burning the possessions of Desiree and the baby he finds a
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The fact that a wealthy white couple had a quadroon child would bring disgrace to the family name. Armand suspects Desiree is the one who is half black, which could very well be true. She was taken in by her father Monsieur Valmonde when she was found under the shadow of a stone pillar at the entrance to their home. Madame Valmonde was unable to conceive a child and viewed this as a blessing from god and they raised her as if she was their own. She grew up to be beautiful and with a white appearance. Armand fell in love with her and was reminded that she was nameless. He knew that she could have been the cause of the mixed baby by her unknown origin. Knowing this, he was very quick to decide she was the cause of the disgrace to his name and home, and from that point grew cold hearted and shunned them away. During the time this story was set it would have been unheard of for a powerful white couple who owned a large cotton plantation to have a mixed baby.

The characters of Desiree and Armand are opposites of each other. Armand cares more for his name and status than the love of a woman who cares deeply for him. He doesn’t see or doesn’t care that his relationship with Desiree goes deeper than the color of his child’s skin. He

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only looks to uphold his untainted name. Desiree is a loving woman and cares nothing for the image set forth by her child. She is only there because of the love she has for Armand and the
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