Internal Conflict In Desiree's Baby

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Society, especially within the deep, Antebellum south, plays a major role in the actions of characters Armand Aubigny and Desiree within the short story “Desiree’s Baby”. The importance of high social status and reputation put pressure on both characters to maintain a socially acceptable image. This emphasizes the racial prejudice seen within the time period while also creating the main external conflict within the story. Kate Chopin creates tension through Armand and Desiree´s internal and external conflicts. They both struggle internally because of their family backgrounds, while their external conflict stems from prejudicial views and expectations within their society. Desiree faces internal conflict because of her lack of a name, and…show more content…
Her beauty is what fires the “pistol shot” that makes Armand fall so quickly in love with her. He was taken aback by her beauty that he took no care of name, status, or reputation. It is easy for him to look into the eyes of the girl he loves and throw traditional societal values away, but impossible for him to do the same for his own child. While Desiree may lack high social status of her own, with his last name she is automatically given respect within the community. The child, on the other hand, no matter what the last name, will never be able to blend in or be accepted within their society. The color of his skin automatically makes him a second-class citizen, barely even acknowledged as a person during these times. His own father uses those with his same skin tone as nothing more than farming equipment. Armand’s true demeanor, that of malevolence and cruelty, is exposed in his dealings with the slaves. He uses the same underlying temperament with Desiree, “her face the picture of fright… presently her husband enter[s] the room”, showing his ability to frighten those that love him most (5). Although, his cruelest way to punish Desiree was through cold indifference, not even willing himself to look at her. “When he spoke to her, it was with avert[ing] eyes,” because of the grave injustice she has unconsciously done to him and his name. The shame that Armand impresses upon Desiree is what brings her to take their baby into the bayou and never come
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