Is Armand responsible for Desiree's death? If he is not, then who is, and what part of the story suggests that it is someone's fault?I am trying to write an essay about the theme of racism in...

Is Armand responsible for Desiree's death? If he is not, then who is, and what part of the story suggests that it is someone's fault?

I am trying to write an essay about the theme of racism in "Desiree's Baby", but I am also trying to place one character at fault by using examples from the short story.

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In regards to the first part of your question, readers do not know for sure that Desiree and her baby die.  Chopin writes only that Desiree is never seen again.  But, if you assume that she and the baby died or even if you focus on Desiree's expulsion from society, most of the blame does lie with Armand. Armand obviously loved Desiree when they first married, but he allows society's standards and racism to influence him negatively. His giving in to the prejudice of his day is similar to Huck's friendship with Jim warring with what he has been taught by society in Huck Finn. You could also argue that American society trained Armand to think in such a way; so therefore, it is ultimately responsible for Desiree's fate.

The most specific parts of the story that demonstrate that Armand or society are at fault are near the end when Armand simply states that Desiree is not white and that that is the reason she must leave. Afterward, when Armand burns Desiree's and the baby's possessions and finds his mother's letter, his mother's words place the blame on society for prejudice.  She writes that she is glad that her son will never know that he 

" 'belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery.' "