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“Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin


Desiree’s baby ‘In Desiree’s Baby’ Kate Chopin covers a number of themes in America before the abolition of slavery. Chief among them is the theme of pride. Armand comes from one of the most distinguished and wealthiest families in Louisiana. As a result he has developed great pride in his origins and sees himself as the protector of the family’s reputation. He feels that defending this reputation is more important than his family. This is clearly illustrated when he chases away his wife, Desiree after she gave birth to a child with a mixture of black and white features. For an owner of slaves in the early 19th century America where blacks were intensely looked down upon this is a great injury to his pride.
Apart from the pride of the wealthy slave owners of the story also covers the deep racism that existed in the 18th century. Race is such a big factor that before marrying Desiree, Valmonde asks him to take time and clearly find out the racial origins of Desiree. It is therefore clear from this that race played a huge role in the choosing of the marriage partner. The full extent of the racial nature of the time is when Armand, despite his professed love for his wife, chases her away after the birth of their baby. To Armand the baby’s mixed race features shows that Desiree is black and according to him there was no way he could live with a black wife and mixed race children.
Kate adopts a tone of mockery in this short story. Through Armand, she mocks racists and racism in general. It is alleged that he did not show any love towards her because of the unconscious injury she had brought upon his home and his name.

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