Dsiree's Baby

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 2 (722 words) Published: April 4, 2006
Thesis: The theme in "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin is a condemnation of racism.
"It means . . . that the child is not white; it means that you are not white" (132). The previous statement is indeed very crucial to determining that the theme of the story "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin is a condemnation of racism. The proof that this is the theme lies within the time period when the story was written along with the stories setting, Armand's racist behavior, and the overall outcome of the story.

The time period in which Chopin wrote "Desiree's Baby" as well as the time the story took place provides key insight to the theme since they are both surrounding the United States slavery era. Chopin wrote the story in the late nineteenth century after the Civil War between the North and South was over (129). Slavery had been abolished, but the feelings of hatred toward the ex-slaves in the south still remained. "Desiree's Baby", on the other hand, takes place in the early nineteenth century when slavery was still an accepted practice. Since at the time when Chopin wrote the story hatred towards the ex-slaves still existed and the story took place while slavery was legal, I feel that Chopin was trying to send a message through her writing that showed why racism is immoral.

Armand's racist behavior through actions within this work of literature is the second key insight to the theme of the story. Prior to realizing that the baby was part white and part black, Armand is happy and he treats his slaves nicely too (131). When he realizes that his baby is part white and part black, his behavior changes immensely. He stays away from Desiree and their son, and "the very spirit of Satan seemed to take hold of him in his dealings with the slaves" (132). When Desiree realizes that her baby is part black, she asks Armand, "What does it mean?," and Armand simply replies by stating, "It means . . . that the child is not white; it means that you are not white" (132). He is...
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