In "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin, did Armand truly love Desiree ?
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In “Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin, Armand Aubigny and Desiree Valmonde appear to be in love when they marry. Despite being told by Desiree’s adopted father that he did not know anything about her heritage, Armand ignores this information and says that it makes no difference. His lack of interest seems to be fired by lust and probably the newness of marital love. The author implies that Armand is madly in love with Desiree.
A bit of assumption is required in seeing into the heart of a character that really does not speak for himself until the end of the story. Armand seems to be in love with Desiree when they marry. The story describes his having to hold on to his patience waiting for the marriage to take place:
Armand looked into her eyes and did not care. He was reminded that she was nameless. What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana? He … contained himself with what patience he could…; then they were married.
It is almost certain that he adored Desiree because of her beauty and quiet character. When their child is born, Desiree still feels Armand’s love and excitement about the birth.
Madame Valmonde asks: "What does Armand say?"
Desiree's face became suffused with a glow that was happiness itself. "Oh, Armand is the proudest father in the parish, I believe, chiefly because it is a boy, to bear his name; though he says not - that he would have loved a girl as well. But I know it isn't true. I know he says that to please me.
The devastating awareness of the child's Negroid features brings a pall over any happiness that Desiree or the baby could have. Armand Aubigny’s family social status was of the elite. His family was one of the oldest and richest in Louisiana. There would never be acceptance of a Negroid child.
When Armand realized the consequences of the bi-racial child, he felt that he had no other choice than to separate himself from both the mother [who he thought had mixed blood] and send them away from his plantation. Armand is angry, yet he shows no feelings or sympathy for the wife that he supposedly loved nor the child that had made him so proud. Of course, the reader knows through dramatic irony that it is Armand who is the parent with bi-racial heritage.
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