Who is the main character in "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Kate Chopin's short story "Desiree's Baby" has at the center of the conflict the child of Desiree Valmonde and Armand Aubigny.  Yet, the baby in the title is designated as Desiree's only.  This psychologically slanted title leads the reader to focus upon Desiree as the main character whose life changes after she has married and gives birth to a baby. For, the child resembles the mulatto slaves of the Aubignys, Zandrine and the young boy who fans the baby one day.

That the responsibility for the baby's appearance is believed to be because of the mother is due in part to the unknown background of Desiree who was adopted by the Valmonde's, and also to the patriarchal society of the Creoles in Louisiana.  For, any consideration that Armand Aubigny's ancestry could be in question is dismissed by him.  Yet, here lies the irony:  Armand Aubigny, whose father has one of the great aristocratic names in the area, is the child of a woman of African descent, a woman who dies in Paris and who has left behind a letter to her husband that reveals the truth.

As the main character of "Desiree's Baby,"  Desiree undergoes great conflict and she meets a climax:  Armand wants her to leave his house.  She does so in despair, never learning that her husband has duscovered the truth about the baby's appearance.