Desiree's Baby Theme

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In “Désirée’s Baby” we see racism as an over-arching theme in the short story. “Désirée’s Baby” takes place in Louisiana during the mid-nineteenth century on a plantation owned by a white man. Désirée herself is a white woman, who was abandoned as a child and raised by someone other than her biological mother. Désirée was asleep on a stone pillar, and when Armand rode by he was immediately over taken with her beauty. It was love at first sight, and the pair marry not long after. Désirée falls pregnant, and Armand is over joyed. Upon the birth of Desiree’s baby Armand becomes gentler towards his slaves. Before the birth of his child Armand was incredibly physically abusive towards them, and afterwards he softens up on the beatings. Not only…show more content…
Armand treats Désirée very nicely through the short story by buying her lavish clothing, and supporting her financially. This exemplary treatment only occurs while Armand believes Désirée is white. However, his entire demeanor shifts the moment the baby begins to seem to have black blood. Before the joys of fatherhood Armand treated the slaves terribly, and for the first months before his baby appeared to be something other than white, Armand would not beat them. However, with his own child beginning to appear black he goes back to abusing them. This is a bit unsettling because if he truly believes his own child to be part black you would think he would have some compassion towards his slaves, but instead it makes him even angrier at them. Armand is ashamed of blackness, this is seen by him when he rejects his own child and Désirée out of the shame he feels. The only things that causes this shift is Armand’s racism towards African-Americans. He views them as inferior property, not as living breathing humans with emotions too. In his mind, having a mixed baby is incredibly shameful and embarrassing to his name, which in why he asks Désirée to leave. If it weren’t for Armand’s racism, this story would have turned out with a much more positive ending. Because of Armand racist world views, he was unable to be a decent human and take responsibility for the child he conceived with Désirée. His racism causes him to act unkindly towards his wife, child, slaves, and I think to himself now that he knows he himself is part
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