Gender Roles in Chopin's Desiree's Baby and A Point at Issue

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Gender Roles in Chopin's 'Desiree's Baby' and 'A Point at Issue' Many female writers write about women's struggle for equality and how they are looked upon as inferior. Kate Chopin exhibits her views about women in her stories. The relationship between men and women in Kate Chopin's stories imply the attitudes that men and women portray. In many of Chopin's works, the idea that women's actions are driven by the men in the story reveals that men are oppressive and dominant and women are vulnerable, gullable and sensitive. Chopin also shows that females, like Desiree and Eleanor, undergo a transformation from dependent and weak to stronger women free from their husbands by the end of the story. In the short story 'Desiree's Baby,' Kate…show more content…
(176). It becomes apparent that Armand?s actions and words greatly affect Desiree when she says, ?My mother, they tell me I am not white? (176). Desiree?s powerless situation can in many ways be blamed for her unresolved uncertainty about her racial identity. Desiree?s words show that her life depends on the race, notions, and social class of her husband and consequently, she feels obligated to obey his every desire. Desiree is presented as vulnerable to whatever Armand wants and tells her to do when she says, ?Do you want me to go?? (177). Desiree displays through her actions that in many ways, her happiness only comes from pleasing her husband. Therefore, Desiree must decide whether to live completely separate from Armand, or to live with him in constant fear and unpleasantness. Desiree achieves personal freedom and independence from Armand when ?she disappeared among the reeds and willows that grew thing along the banks of the deep, sluggish bayou; she did not come back again? (177). It is not even an option and is unheard of that Armand, being a male holding a respectable background, could possibly be black. Consequently, Desiree feels compelled to leave because she wants to please him. When Desiree decides to kill herself and her child, she shows that she is sensitive and vulnerable to her husband?s thoughts and actions. In ?A Point at Issue,? Charles? actions cause many of the central issues and they also reflect on Eleanor throughout the story.

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