Race And Color In Desiree's Baby By Kate Chopin

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In Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby”, race and color are the separating line between being a slave or a free man or woman during the pre-Civil War era in America. Armand is a white plantation owner who is angered when he finds out that his son is black. He has come to this conclusion based on the baby’s skin color alone. He accuses his wife, Desiree, of being black and lying about her race. Armand and Desiree compare each other’s skin color to prove who is whiter than the other. Ultimately the one with the darker skin must be the one who is black. However, color does not always reveal a person’s race. In the end, it is revealed that Armand is the parent with the black heritage who has passed his race down to the baby. Color is not always …show more content…
Chopin describes the race of the characters in “Desiree’s Baby” with terms of color. She mentions the quadroon boy who is fanning the baby. A quadroon is a person with one-quarter of African ancestry. Basically, the quadroon child has one black grandparent. Describing the boy as a qaudroon, is to give us knowledge of his race and a vivid picture of what his appearance might be. Armand also compares Desiree’s skin to be, "As white as La Blanche 's" (Chopin). This rebuttle was meant as an insult to Desiree’, for La Blanch was of mixed race, yet Armand compared her skin color to Desiree’s to prove that she was of mixed race as well. According to, “Making Sense of “Race” in the History Classroom: A Literary Approach.”, written by Barbara Cruz and James A. …show more content…
Sadly, love did not transcend color in liht of the discovery of his wife and son’s race. Once he found out his baby and possibly his wife were black, he simply erased them from his life. Before Armand married Desiree, he said he didn’t care about “the girl 's obscure origin” (Chopin). He loved her anyway and could cure her unknown background simply by giving her, “one of the oldest and proudest [names] in Louisiana” (Chopin). But, his name alone turned out to “not” be the cure to the unknown surrounding Desiree’s ancestry. Teresa Gilbert talks a lot about the surprises hidden in the text of Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby” in her online journal, “The role of Implictures in Kate Chopin’s Louisiana Short Stories”. She states, “not until the end can they realize that the French name of the sinister house, L’Abri, is ironical because it will turn out to be the opposite of a safe shelter for Désirée, whose name also becomes ironical when she ceases to be considered a prized posses-sion and is marked as undesirable” (Gilbert 41). The tragic ending leaves the most lasting effect on its readers as we are waiting for the plot to unfold, we are shocked by the unexpected. The unknown ancestry that Armand hated so much, was his

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