Chopin, Kate. "Desiree's Baby".
Desiree is a foundling adopted by the rich Madame Valmonde. Valmonde thinks the child to have been sent to her by Providence, as she herself is childless. Desiree grows up to become a beautiful, gentle, and affectionate lady.
She is married to Armand Aubigny who gives her one of the oldest and proudest names in the country. After the birth of their son, Armand's loving attitude to Desiree changes to negligence. On being asked, Armand complains that his son is not white and neither is his wife. He claims that he does not love her any more because of the unconscious injure she has brought upon his home and name. Desiree leaves with the baby in the direction of the deep bayou and does not return.
On burning his wife's things, Armand accidentally comes upon a letter from his mother to his father. She thanks God for the blessing of her husband's love. Above all she thanks that her beloved Armand will never know that his mother belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery.
- a third person narrative, free access to Desiree's consciousness
- set in Lousiana before the Civil War, in the community of French speaking settlers
- subject: an ironic tragedy in the family caused by race prejudice
- Chopin is great in describing feelings, especially negative ones (fear, anger, jealousy, etc.)
- great in penetrating the minds of women, treats the subject with sensitivity and insight
- her stories are mainly concerned with women and targeted at women, but she rarely falls in too much sentimentalism or romanticism
- her stories keep a thought-provoking quality and not always find a happy ending
- her subtle style reminds somewhat of the later British short story writer Katherine Mansfield
AuthorChopin, Kate. (1851 - 1904).
Full Title"Desiree's Baby".
First PublishedIn: Vogue. 1893.
Chopin, Kate. "Desiree's Baby". (1893). In: Kate Chopin: Complete Novels and Stories. Ed. Sandra M. Gilbert. NY: Library of America, 2002.