What does it mean when Chopin says "he was reminded that she was nameless"?

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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As "Desire's Baby" begins, the reader is introduced to Desire.  As a baby, she is found on the side of the road by the Valmounde family.  A wealthy family with no children of their own they take her in and adopt her.  Years later when she has grown into a beauty, she catches the eye of a neighboring plantation owner, Armand Aubigny. As a part of a wealthy family, Armand has a wealthy name- one that has been passed down from generation to generation.  When they first get married, Armand's father warns him that Desire has no such name.  Since she was adopted, no one knows who her family is, or where they come from.  At the time he is in love and doesn't worry about it.  He dismisses his father's warning saying that he will give Desire his name.

A sweet thought that comes back to haunt him once their baby is born.  When they realize that the baby has color to him they realize there must be some Black ancestry in their family.  Since she doesn't "have a name" Armand believes it must be her fought and her family.  The true irony exists when we realize that it is actually Black ancestry.


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