18 Sept. 2009
Setting and Atmosphere
In Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby”, she describes the tragic tale of Desiree and her baby from life to death. She uses powerful imagery and symbolism to create a dark and heavy atmosphere in attempt to evoke powerful emotion from the reader. Chopin does a formidable job as she uses descriptive imagery to lay a foundation for the atmosphere to build off of. Several points in the story where she effectively creates this atmosphere would be when she brings in the pillars and describes the plantation, when Desiree discovers the truth (or so she thinks) of her babies race, when she walks into the bayou and dies, as well as the point in which her husband realizes that he had misplaced the blame of his own faults on his wife. `
When the story first begins, Chopin focuses mainly on the physical setting of the Valmonde plantation. As she describes the entire house, “The roof came down steep and black like a cowl, reaching out beyond the wide galleries that encircled the yellow stuccoed house. Big, solemn oaks grew close to it, and their thick-leaved, far-reaching branches shadowed it like a pall” she evokes a feeling of sadness about the reader. She also describes the stone pillars, which represent darkness towering over Desiree on several occasions throughout the story. Before Chopin really begins describing the characters in great detail, she creates an atmosphere strictly produced by plantation on which the story takes place (Paragraph 6, lines 7-11).
At the turning point of the story, when Desiree comes to the realization that her baby is of mixed race, she is overcome with shock and cannot comprehend what is happening. Chopin describes her as though her “blood turned like ice in her veins” and “She was there like a stone image: silent, white, motionless”. This bone chilling description only scrapes the surface of what Desiree could possibly be feeling like. The portion of the story only...
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