Kate Chopin’s Short Story “Desiree’s Baby”
In Kate Chopin’s short story, “Desiree’s Baby”, she demonstrates how racism played a major part in people’s lives in the 1800’s. Kate Chopin is extremely successful in getting her readers to feel disturbed by the events in the story. Through words and images, the reader feels touched by the story, either by relating to it at some points or when confronted with things we frequently decide to ignore in the world: the evil some human beings are capable of possessing.
Chopin introduces the story with pleasant images and events; she enchants the reader with fairy tales. A woman who cannot have children is blessed with the most “beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere” (31) of all girls, whom she believes “had been sent to her by a beneficent Providence to be the child of her affection” (31). A real Cinderella story becomes true when a girl who holds the burden of not knowing where she came from is now the object of desire of the handsome and wealthy Armand Aubigny, a man who’s so in love that ignores the fact of her obscure origin. According to Armand, “what did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana?” (31). Armand’s love is such that he orders the “corbeille” from Paris, and impatiently waits on it to marry the woman he desires. Chopin goes on with the fantasy in her successful attempt to soften the readers’ hearts. Desiree has a baby and makes Armand “the proudest father in the parish” (32), who changes from a cruel slave owner to a more patient boss. Chopin takes the readers to wonderland and opens up their hearts with this romance in the first half of the story. The writer ends the first phase of the tale with Desiree’s expression of her feelings at that point: “Oh mamma, I’m so happy; it frightens me” (32). This comment is both a conclusion of the first phase of the story and a prediction of what’s to come next.
In the next segment of the account, Chopin breaks the enchantment and the readers’ hearts when she turns a fairy tale into a horror show. Armand’s behavior towards Desiree changes drastically, as for “when he spoke to her, it was with averted eyes, from which the old love-light seemed to have gone out.” “He absented himself from home; and when there, avoided her presence and that of her child, without excuse” (32). Armand’s attitude did not only change towards his wife, but also towards the slaves as if “the spirit of Satan seemed suddenly to take hold of him” (32). Desiree then finds out the reason for...