Disiree Baby by Kate Chopin

Disiree Baby by Kate Chopin

Introduction

The setting of this story was sometime before the Civil War. Kate Chopin’s story talks about “Desire’s baby”, and is a story of an adopted daughter of Madame Valmode known as Desireee, she is married to a renowned prestigious slave trader and owner called Armand Aubigny hailing from L’Abri in Lousiana. It must be noted that, this was a relationship, which was characterized, by a lot of prejudice; this was solely because of the views Armand held n Desiree’s origin as being the root cause of their destruction. Plainly focused mainly on what is the superficial part Desiree’s physical appearance and being, Armand did not heed to Madame Valmonde’s instruction that he ought to consider the obscure origin of Desiree. The purpose of this paper is to make a literary analysis of the story expounding on some of the literary devices that have been used through in the story as written by Chopin. In this short story of Desiree’s baby, there is a prevailing sense of Karma and consequences that have been widely used throughout the story. It has gone ahead and explored the issue that is a man’s pride; it raises the supposition that the same should not overcome the love a man has for his wife. The subsequent section will look at the manner in which pride and race influenced the eventualities in Armand and Desiree’s love, and the outcomes.

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Historical placing of literary device

The historical background to which the story has been set is slavery. It must however not be lost on us that, this is a story that was written around 1892, this was about twenty-seven years after slavery had officially been abolished, but the same occurred during the era of slavery. The theory has been applied in the analysis with thus being premised on cultural norms and values.

Pride

Throughout the narration of this story, Armand has continuously been portrayed as a man who has it all, he walked around with an air of self-importance, and he had a family name and reputation to protect. Armand believed that it is the family name that accounted for one of the oldest and very prestigious and Louisiana had to be preserved. Readers are invited to look at a man who; because of his family’s name prominence in Louisiana felt like a king besides his preoccupation and mastery as a slave owner. It is perhaps the reason why Armand’s pride came first before any other thing, family included, he felt like he was more obliged to protect and preserve his family’s name more than anything else and as a result; this was not an endeavor that could be spared any cost. It is for these very same reasons that Armand the slave owner did not want anything impeding and putting his family’s name in the line of disrepute, as such he told his wife and the baby to leave because of the assumption that they were black which was indeed the case. Armand never wanted people to look down upon him as a renowned slave owner doubling as a husband to a black woman, and so he started feeling like there was no longer love between them.

Symbolism

There is a time when Armand had thought of starting over on a clean slate, he took it upon himself to create a bonfire all in the efforts of trying to do away with his wife’s and son memory. The bonfire was a symbolic meaning to wanting to start over again and forget her past. Throughout the story, there are many elements of symbolism that are being used in conveying a very central message which include the discussion of racism, social class distinction and elements that involve difference into what are considered gender roles. The story has shown a great extent of how the writer has emphasized racism through careful selection of specific words that mean to symbolize the relation between light and darkness, and all the slaves that were in Armand’s plantation. For example, we can see that in the narration, the slaves that worked in Armand’s home was directly associated with very light pigmentation which could have majorly implicated racism.

There is reference that has been made towards the nurse, Zandrine as being “Yellow” of color, the yellow nurse in one scene has fanned herself looking out through the window to the fields. There was manifest racism between Armand and the cotton pickers; this was further buttressed by the manner in which the slaves were being allocated duties around the plantation. In fields, there were slaves of darker pigmentation while working within the confines of the home were the slaves of lighter complexion.

Irony

There is what is called situational Irony in this story. This is explained as what would normally happen when faced with a situation where what happens is the direct opposite of what one had expected to happen. In Kate Chopin’s story, Desiree’s baby, Armand and Desiree a white couple bore a child with a darker skin, something that did not bode well with Armand the slave owner. Armand had blamed Desiree all along simply because her origins and family background were very uncertain. Irony plays out when Armand receives mail from his mother who writes that Armand carried the black gene with him.

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Simile

Simile is a literary device that is highly used in the story by the author. The author states that Aubigny fell in love. Aubigny’s passion of love when he saw the girl who had grown beautiful and gentle is plotted as a simile in the story. The author says his passion and desire “swept along like an avalanche, or like a praire fire, or like anything that drives headlong over all obstacles”. This is a simile as used by the author in the story to describe Aubigny’s reaction and feeling for love.

There are also other two instances of simile that come to the fore in the short story narration; they have been used to try to come up with an explanation behind Desiree’s shock to supplement the ironic twist taking place right at the end of the story. The realization by Desiree that her baby is not black but white had the effect of chilling the blood in her veins. She asked Armand to look at their child and tell her what it meant, Armand replied, “that the child is not white, it means you are not white.”

Foreshadowing

Armand Aubigny’s behavior has been incredibly harsh, and it is his decisions that have come to inform most if not all of his decisions that are primarily emotional as opposed to the logic that they should be. The narrator of the story is therefore dropping hints here and there on the very many likely outcomes and consequences that the decisions he makes will have, if any on Desiree particularly, and most ironically and devastatingly on himself.

Tone and mood

The tone of the narration is predominantly ominous; it has proceeded to hinting at trouble, real or just perceived that are lying ahead, this is particularly the case when it comes decisions that Armand will personally have to make as a result of the rash and hastiness of his nature. The narration is also replete with some scenes and moments when a they are served with lighter moments when the newborn arrives, it rests with how Desiree expresses her love and excitement for Armand. During her departure she said, “good-by, Armand.”

Symbolism

There is a time when Armand had thought of starting over on a clean slate, he took it upon himself to create a bonfire all in the efforts of trying to do away with his wife’s and son memory. The bonfire was a symbolic meaning to wanting to start over again and forget her past. Throughout the story, there are many elements of symbolism that are being used in conveying a very central message which include the discussion of racism, social class distinction and elements that involve difference into what are considered gender roles. The story has shown a great extent of how the writer has emphasized racism through careful selection of specific words that mean to symbolize the relation between light and darkness, and all the slaves that were in Armand’s plantation. For example, we can see that in the narration, the slaves that worked in Armand’s home was directly associated with very light pigmentation which could have majorly implicated racism.

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There is reference that has been made towards the nurse, Zandrine as being “Yellow” of color, the yellow nurse in one scene has fanned herself looking out through the window to the fields. There was manifest racism between Armand and the cotton pickers; this was further buttressed by the manner in which the slaves were being allocated duties around the plantation. In fields, there were slaves of darker pigmentation while working within the confines of the home were the slaves of lighter complexion.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are plenty of themes to be expounded on in this story. Gender issues, feminism to race, these are some of the most visibly played out themes. The problem in our short story only features in when Armand’s pride weigh’s him down overcoming all his love for his wife and child, Desiree did Love Armand, narrations abound how she was excited after the birth of their daughter, as for Armand, he was of the feeling that everything was to revolve around him and his prestigious family name.

 

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