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What is important to Armand?Kate Chopin's "Desiree's Baby"

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thatbriann | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 29, 2011 at 4:33 AM via web

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What is important to Armand?

Kate Chopin's "Desiree's Baby"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 29, 2011 at 5:53 AM (Answer #1)

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In Kate Chopin's short story, "Desiree's Baby," Armand Aubigny of French Creole landed gentry descent, tells his wife after she asks him to look at their son that the boy is not white, nor is she white.  When Desiree asks him if he wants her to go, he coldly replies "yes."  For,

He thought Almighty God had dealt cruelly and unjustly with him; and felt, somehow, that he was paying Him back in kind when he stabbed thus into his wife's soul.  Moreover, he no longer loved her, because of the unconscious injury she had brought upon his home and his name.

Clearly, then, Armand Aubigny is excessively proud.  Feeling himself an aristocrat, he values whatever he possesses that reflects well upon him: name, reputation, child, property,  When his son is discovered to resemble the little mulatto children among his workers, Armaud is horrified that such a child exist in his world to reflect badly upon him.  So, he tells his wife to leave.

To underscore the false value that Armand places upon his possessions, in the exposition of Chopin's story, the narrator notes that Armand has only fallen in love with Desiree when she is eighteen years old:

The wonder was that he had not loved her fefore; for he had known her since his father brought him home from Paris, a boy of eight, after his mother died there.  

It is only when he realizes that Desiree is so beautiful that she will be an asset to him, that Armand considers being in love with her.  Of course, he really only loves what she can do for him as a possession.  The great irony of the story, too, is suggested in this passage:  Armand returns to Louisiana only when his Negro,  mother dies in Paris, thus revealing how truly false his pride has been.

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