Characterism In Desiree's Baby, By Kate Chopin

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The short story, “Desiree’s Baby”, by Kate Chopin addresses several issues that played a major role in the Antebellum South. Desiree, abandoned as a child, receives new hope when she is found and raised by Madame Valmonde. At a young age, Desiree quickly falls in love with Armand, who would later cause destruction and misery in their marriage. With the birth of their child, Armand and Desiree face racial tensions and conflicts within themselves. Throughout the story, Chopin shows the prominent role reputation plays in shaping the characters, setting, and conflicts. As the story unfolds, the reader sees the two main characters, Desiree and Armand, develop personalities that vary greatly from each other. Chopin uses color to express these differences. Desiree is “beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere” (Chopin 1). The color white represents Desiree to show her purity and kindness. As people come to view her baby for themselves, she is never bothered; she is not looking for flaws in her baby, particularly its pigmentation. Desiree’s color…show more content…
“Desiree’s Baby” takes place in the deep South in the state of Louisiana. The time period is the late 19th century which was well-known for its heavy influences of large plantations and slavery. During this time, there was a distinguished social hierarchy that determined one’s status. Slavery was an integral part of keeping a plantation running in the South. This led to the relationship between property and property owner on the hierarchy. Chopin shows her understanding of this system when portraying the relationship between Armand and the slaves on his plantation. Chopin says, “Young Aubigny’s rule was a strict one, too, and under it his slaves had forgotten how to be gay, as they had been during the old master’s easy-going and indulgent lifetime” (2). His reputation as the owner allowed Armand to feel control over his slaves and treat them

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