In “Désirée’s Baby,” do you think Armand already knew about his Black ancestry?

Armand’s treatment of Désirée in “Désirée’s Baby” after their child’s skin color begins to darken as well as the contents of his mother’s letter and his decision to burn it seem to point to the idea that he did not know about his Black ancestry.

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When Désirée looks at her child and understands that the child is of mixed race, she confronts Armand, asking him what the baby’s skin color could possibly mean. When he enters the room where she and the baby repose, he does so “without noticing her,” and he goes about his business. When she speaks to him, she speaks with “a voice which must have stabbed him, if he was human,” though he responds “lightly” and “cruelly” to her, as if it is nothing to him to wound her.

A sincere belief that Désirée is of mixed race herself seems to be the only thing that could compel Armand to act in such a way. He doesn’t notice her, just as he would likely not notice or in any way outwardly recognize the presence of a slave, because a person with Black ancestry would be...

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