Desiree's Baby: Armand's Own Self Hatred

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In Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby” race and prejudice is a prevalent subject that surrounds the entire piece. The amount of hostility Armand shows toward Desiree after the realization of the baby’s mixed heritage stems from Armand’s own self-hatred. He resents his heritage; he wants nothing more but to continue on his family name but cannot without having a child that appears full white. This ultimately leads to Desiree’s suicide as well as the death of her young child. While the ending is obviously ironic, Chopin does not go into any details of Armand reaction. There is no reference to possible shock on Armand’s part; the text simply reads “He read it.”(202) This seems unusual since one expect the author to show Armand’s remorse; to show he is aware of the injustice of his actions. Chopin ambiguity leads to the conclusion that Armand was already fully conscious of his mixed heritage.

Desiree is found in “asleep in the shadow of the big stone pillar.”(199) It is no coincidence that the same place that Desiree is abandoned is the very place Armand falls “in love with her.” (199) The shadow that Desiree sleeps in foreshadows her death; the big stone pillar is the tombstone she never receives since she drowns to death in the bayou. With this large pillar representing her death, the fact that Armand is struck by infatuation while Desiree leans against the pillar also foreshadows the death will be of Armand’s doing. Armand’s harsh treatment and overly prideful sense of self leads to her demise. Another reason Chopin uses this juxtaposition is to highlight Armand using Desiree for her “obscure origin.”(199) The pillar also represents Desiree’s lack of a past; she is supposedly found by Armand where she was lost. “Armand Aubigny riding by and seeing her there, had fallen in love with her. That was the way all the Aubignys fell in love, as if struck by a postil shot.”(199) When Armand realizes he can use her ambiguous ancestry, he seizes the moment instantly and...
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