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How does Desiree fight back when she discovers that her child is bi-racial...

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joellle | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted September 13, 2012 at 4:43 PM via web

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How does Desiree fight back when she discovers that her child is bi-racial in "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin?

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 13, 2012 at 5:19 PM (Answer #1)

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In Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin, the main character does not know her ancestry.  She was adopted by loving parents who took her in and because she was a beautiful child raised her as their own.

When Desiree and Armand are to be married, Monsieur Valmonde, Desiree's adopted father, tells  Armand that they  do not know anything about Desiree's background.  The reason for telling him this is that Armand's family were  wealthy upper class.  Now, he knows that no one knows anything about who she was or who her real parents were. Because of his love and passion for Desiree, Armand tells her father that it does not matter.

After the birth of the son, Desiree realizes that the child is bi-racial. Since her background is unknown, it has to be Desiree that has the black ancestry.  Even her mother and Armand believe this to be true.  

In this time period, men were the rulers of the households.  Women were to serve the men in all ways: run the household, give birth to the children, and satisfy the man. Desiree had no property.  It was Armand's home.  If he wanted her gone, that was the end of the discussion.

When Desiree discovers that Armand knows about the child,  she knows that he is angry.  He turns away from her and blames her for this problem. There is nothing for her to do. Her husband does not want her or her child.  Her only choice is to return to her parents.  She leaves the house with only the barest clothes and her baby.

Desiree does argue that she is white, but Armand will not listen.

A quick conception of all that this accusation meant for her nerved her with unwonted couraged to deny it. 'It is a lie; it is not true, I am white! Look at my hair, it is brown; and my eyes are grey, Armand, you know they are gray.  Look at my hand; whiter than yours, Armand,' she laughed hysterically.

there is no way to fight back.  Still, at this time there is nothing for Desiree to do but leave. 

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