Sexism And Classism In Desiree's Baby By Kate Chopin

Decent Essays

“Desiree’s Baby” is a short story by Kate Chopin that examines the issues of sexism, classism, and racism and how these issues are often intertwined. Although the most prominent issue in the story is racism, Chopin emphasizes how differences among class and sex can reinforce racial discrimination. The story’s setting, taking place in the South prior to the American Civil War, sets the stage for these issues. Desiree, an adopted girl whose origin remains unknown, has recently had a baby with her husband, Armand. All seems well until they discover that their baby is of mixed race. Since slavery is still prominent at the time being, this poses a threat to Armand. Wanting to preserve his status as a respectable white man, he forces Desiree and the baby to leave, presuming that the African ancestry comes from Desiree. An ironic twist at the story’s close reveals that the African ancestry in the baby’s lineage actually comes from Armand. Chopin uses characterization through the story’s prominent characters, Desiree and Armand, to emphasize how the shame associated with the color of one’s skin causes the story to unfold in the manner that it does.
Chopin uses characterization of the story’s two main characters, Armand and Desiree, to show how something so small and meaningless, like one’s race, can destroy lives and expose the inhumanity in people. The closemindedness of the story’s white characters causes them to see a person’s race as the only thing that matters. Armand fell in

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