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I'm writing a 3-5 minute speech about race and culture as reflected in "Desiree's...

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s22kgold | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 31, 2011 at 6:38 AM via web

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I'm writing a 3-5 minute speech about race and culture as reflected in "Desiree's Baby." Could someone give me a good outline to follow?

I need to write on how race and culture are prevalent and integral themes in Desiree's Baby. I have something written, but I don't like it, so I thought maybe if someone gave mean outline to follow, I could organize my ideas better and deliver a clear, effective speech.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:06 AM (Answer #1)

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Race and culture are very important themes in Chopin's "Desiree's Baby".  To create a clear and relevant speech on these two themes, it is important to give the listener background on the story. One cannot assume that the listeners are familiar with the story.

To begin, summarize the story for your listeners. Important facts should be:

-Desiree is adopted and Armand has given her his name.

-Armand, and his name, are known throughout the area.

-Desiree and Armand marry and have a child.

-The ethnic background of their child is questioned.

-Armand tuns his back on Desiree and their child.

Culturally, our society still faces racial prejudice. It would best suit your speech if you then provided information where something similar has happened in society today.

There are multiple times throughout the story which show Armand's thoughts about race.

-He has fathered a child with a slave (La Blanche) and the child works in his home.

-He has beaten his slaves in the past, quit beating them, and then begins again.

- He spends a lot of time time with La Blanche.

Armand seems to be internally conflicted with where he stands on his own personal concept of what is accepted socially when it comes to the relationships between blacks and whites.

The most important thing that you need to know about your essay is what type of essay you are writing.

If you are writing a persuasive essay, you need to know what you are trying to prove.

If you are writing an infromative essay, you need to decide what you are trying to state (or inform) your audience about.

 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:25 AM (Answer #2)

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For this speech, you may wish to put the story within its historical context because such a context is intrinsic to the meanings and implications of Kate Chopin's narrative. For there are essentially two very determining concepts in the narrative of "Desiree's Baby":

1.  The proper pedigree is important to French Creoles

When Armaud falls in love with the beautiful girl of mysterious background that the Valmonde's have adopted, Monsieur Valmonde is practical and asked that the girl's background be considered.  But Armaud does not hear of it, "What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldes and proudes in Louisiana?" 

However, Armaud does indeed define himself by social status.  So when the baby grows, doubts about its race also grow. And, eventually, Armand rejects Desiree's baby.

2.  Women in the Creole society are considered as second-class citizens.

Once Arman delieves that Desiree is inauthentic, he never regards her with any interest.  He, therefore, rejects her and her child, holding her responsible for the baby's color.

3. The last consideration is the tendency of people to excuse themselves.

Both Armand and Desiree blame each other. 

Desiree asks what the child's appearance means, and Armand tells her it means that the baby is not white; she is not white.  But, Desiree argues, "my hair...is brown; and my eyes are gray....And my skin is fair....Look at my hand; whiter than yours, Armand," she contends.

But Armand will not consider anything Desiree says.  Instead, he argues, "As white as LaBlanche's (a mulatto slave)," he returns cruelly.  Then, he departs, leaving Desiree alone with the baby.

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