Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby”

Kate Chopin’s short story, “Desiree’s Baby” is poignant and very well written in my opinion. The twist that she provides at the end of the story leaves the reader guessing; does Desiree really kill the baby and herself because of her husband’s rejection?

I find Armand to be an unsavoury character. It makes me wonder how can someone  be so intolerable of a different race when his own father seems like a good man who doesn’t disrespect the blacks, and treats them well. To show Armand’s rigidness and cruelty, Chopin says, “Young Aubigny’s rule was a strict one, too, and under it his negroes had forgotten how to be gay, as they had been during the old master’s easy-going and indulgent lifetime.” In other words, poor black people who work  for Armand are mistreated as if they were a different species. It’s paradoxical to me that Armand who has “black” genes in his blood expresses so much hatred for the same group of people to which he belongs. In a sense, Armand’s racial prejudice towards the blacks reminds me of the Hitler’s animosity towards Jews. Hitler kills millions of Jews while his grandfather, his own blood is Jewish. Unlike Hitler, Armand is not aware of his African-American heritage until he finds out from reading his mother’s letter, “But above all,” she wrote, “night and day, I thank the good God for having so arranged our lives that our dear Armand will never know that his mother, who adores him, belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery.” Chopin ends the story here but leaves it to the reader’s imagination to draw conclusions. Looking back at the Armand’s actions and the way he treats the people he “loves”, my best guess is that he probably commits a suicide upon the revelation of his heritage. He is way too pride of his name and the status he enjoys in a patriarchal society to handle the fact that he is not better than his slaves.

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One response to “Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby”

  1. I agree that this is a beautifully written story. I also like your conjecture that Armand takes his life. I tend to agree with you; any other possibility seems unlikely considering his attitudes.

    Great job!

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