Desiree\'s Baby
The 19th century was a difficult time for many women and blacks because of the
domination of white men over them. The social and economic hardships they faced
in day to day life was a constant reminder of this domination. The social
ideology in the story "Desireeís Baby" was powerful and dangerous and held
no escape for any character. A woman with small children who lost her husband
would face extreme hardships without the support of close family members. One
who happened to be down on their luck would not find much sympathy among their
peers even with children. Kate Chopin was one of these individuals who was down
on her luck with six children. But fortunately had the support and comfort of
her mother for a short period before her mother passed away. A friend advised
this mother of six children that writing was a way to solve her problems
concerning money and help deal with her grief. Maternal love and all the grief
from losing loved ones were to be an attribute to the writing proficiency of
this literary artist. This period in Louisiana was not tolerant for mixed
ancestry and one found to be non-white would be ostracized from the white
community. There were some whites in Louisiana who was not racist but they would
still have to follow a strict code of segregation and social guidelines or risk
social or bodily death. Kate Chopin was born fourteen years before slavery was
abolished so must have had strong feeling on the subject. She no doubt saw mixed
ancestry in the black communities and realized the cause of it. This story
crosses the line into the covert world of mixed ancestry and the problems it
produced. The racism in the story is not discussed openly but is prudently mixed
in with Armandís atrocious character and his evil soul. Armandís evil was
deep as he forsakes his loving wife, infant son, and God. The story some
proclaim contributed to Chopinís early success was "Desireeís Baby" in
this story she mixed many feminist emotions from maternal love, to a wifeís
love and devotion to her estranged husband. During this period, some found it
tolerable to leave a baby on the doorsteps of a family to provide a chance at a
better life. This was an important point in the story when the Monsieur found
the baby Desiree near the front gate, it would mean that Desiree would probably
never be aware of her biological parents ancestry. The chance a baby with both
parents would be dropped off is not logical but was probably a single mother. A
single mother knew there was little help to be found and the child would be hard
pressed for a descent upbringing socially and economically speaking. Desiree
grew into a beautiful and gentle-hearted young woman and soon found a wealthy
suitor asking for her hand. This young suitor had known of Desireeís past but
was in love and did not care of this seemingly innocent unknown factor of her
past. This suitor, Armand Aubigny was racist and wretched but the young bride
was in love and looked past his flawed character. The concept of young Armand
falling instantly in love after seeing Desiree standing by the gate is a bit
suspicious and sounds more like infatuation. The evil in Armand did not come
from his parents and the black employees were cheerful when he was growing up so
it is an open question concerning his acquired hatred. The blacks were cheerful
while his father was alive but was not during Armandís strict management of
the LíAbri. Armand had changed to a kinder man after his marriage and the
birth of his son and it may have been the only time in his life he was truly
happy. The death of his mother while living in France when he was eight years
old may have had a precarious effect on his character. The way Madame Valmonde
described the LíAbri as "a sad looking place, which for many years had not
known the gentle presence of a mistress"(1), may have been a hint at Armands
evil nature being tied to having no maternal influence during most of his
boyhood. Madame Valmonde noticed the babyís mixed ancestry immediately when
she went for a visit, exclaiming out loud at first sight of him "this is not
the baby"(2), Desiree thought she was referring to how big the baby had grown.

Madame Valmonde looked closely at the baby and new that it was indeed of mixed
ancestry but did not