Racial, Social, and Symbolic Elements in Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin

Good Essays

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. In “Desiree Baby”, author, Chopin emphasizes racism by selecting certain words to symbolize the association between light and darkness, and the slaves on the plantation.
The association …show more content…

The slaves working in Armand’s home was associated with a lighter color that could implicate racism. Zandrine the nurse is “yellow” completed. In the story Zandrine the yellow nurse fanned herself and looked out the window over the fields. Racism between the cotton pickers and Armand was clearly present. The slave of darker pigmentation was outside working in the field. Zandrine and La Blanche’s son had a light complexion and were allowed to do work in the home. Armand treatment of the slaves indicated that he look at them more as a possession than black human beings (Cummings). Armand conviction of Desiree race was racist. Armand went to the extremes of abandoning his wife and child conveys acts of racial discrimination towards the blacks. In the story Chopin expresses symbolism within the social class distinction by placing one race in a higher social ranking than the other and, by the abandonment of one race. In “Desiree Baby” Chopin shows how one skin color defines social class, and determines the value and identity of another (Cummings).For the majority of the story, Armand is clearly looked upon as a white male of class and wealth, until the end of the story. He owns land in L’ Abri, and he has a plantation full of African Americans working for him as slaves. Armand have slaves to do his work for him. He also expresses an individual class between the races of the slaves. The lighter slaves worked inside with his

Get Access