Desiree's Baby Character Analysis Essay

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The Baby’s Parents In a period, such as the antebellum, a multitude of factors shaped the lives of men and women. Movements for abolition caused tensions in the south for slaves and large farmers, while the women’s suffrage movement began to alter the roles of women in America. In "Desiree 's Baby", Chopin illustrates how race, social conformity and gender roles are themes that dictate the character development of Armand and Desiree. In This story, Armand is a highly dynamic character, and his actions are heavily dependent upon racial conflict. This internal conflict is seen throughout the story and it affects his relationship with his slaves as well as his wife, Desiree. Attention is brought to his attitude towards his slaves when Desiree states, "he hasn 't punished one of them-not one of them since the baby is…show more content…
While racial confliction influenced Armand’s character and inferiority shaped Desiree’s character, social conformity dictated both personalities. Chopin suggests this outside pressure to conform to society, and its affect on both Armand and Desiree multiple times. We witness this in Armand early in the story when he refers to his “oldest and “proudest” (81) name. This is his way of conforming to his society; large wealth and a good name. Armand’s namesake is the most important thing to him and this is ultimately his reasoning to let Desiree and the baby go. In his eyes, raising a mixed baby would tarnish his social status. Social conformity was equally as prevalent in Desiree. When she gazes at the baby and her face is the “picture of fright” (82) this is because she suddenly realized her baby was mixed race. After being told she was responsible, she was "nerved with the unwanted courage to deny it" (83). This is a tremendous accusation because it now meant she was not only a woman, but a woman of African American descent. The realization that she must now take one more step down the social ladder; in such an era it is a hard blow to any

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