Symbolism in Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin Essay

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Symbolism in Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin

"Desiree's Baby" is Kate Chopin's most well-known short story and most anthologized piece of work. The story takes place in southern Louisiana and her writing reflects her Creole-French descent. Chopin begins the story with a descriptive quote, "when she reached L'Abri she shuddered at the first sight of it, as she always did. It was a sad looking place...Big solemn oaks grew close to it and their thick leaved, far-reaching branches shadowed it like a pall" (185). The preceding quote gives the reader an eerie feeling and foreshadows an unpleasant ending to the story. Throughout "Desiree's Baby," Kate Chopin uses symbolism to convey her themes of racial prejudice, unequal gender roles, and
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Chopin was a southern feminist writer who often related her stories back to the issue of discrimination across genders. She uses symbolism to analyze the gender roles of inequality between men and women in society. In the very beginning Desiree was left on a stone pillar at the Valmonde estate; it is here that Armand Aubigny sees her and falls instantly in love with her. The stone pillar is a phallic symbol of firm, forced male dominance in a patriarchal society. Throughout the story Desiree is submissive to her husband and obeys everything he says even when Aubigny sends her and the child away. Desiree left wearing a thin white garment and slippers and as she walked the sun beamed down giving off a radiant, golden gleam from her long, brown hair. Chopin uses Desiree's white clothing to symbolize the feminine element being introduced into society and the sun's shining rays seem to represent the shifting of power roles among genders. Chopin demonstrates the rising power of women in society and the establishment of equality among genders.

"She did not take the broad, beaten road which led to the far-off plantation at Valmonde. She walked across a deserted field, where the stubble bruised her tender feet, so delicately shod, and tore her thin gown to shreds. She disappeared among the reeds and willows that grew thick along the banks of the deep, sluggish
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