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Désirée's Baby

by Kate Chopin

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In "Désirée's Baby," why does Armand marry Désirée without considering her origins?

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Armand was infatuated with Desiree from the moment he first saw her, so his decision to marry her was rather impulsive. He wanted what he wanted, so Desiree would be his. He doesn't consider her origins because there appears to be no reason to assume Desiree is anything but white. None of her physical features suggest mixed ancestry, so Armand never figures he needs to check.

This all goes to show how arrogant Armand is due to his privileged position. He must have Desiree, so he gets her. Then, when his child by her is dark-skinned, he assumes it's her genetics that are to blame. He never assumes his origins are anything but white, even though it turns out his own mother was of African ancestry and made sure it was hidden from him so he could enjoy a superior social position. Yet Armand seems to not have inherited his mother's loving nature, as he is cold and cruel, casting out his wife and child when they might prove embarrassing to him.

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In the short story, "Desiree's Baby," Armand is a man who is accustomed to getting what he wants, and he wants to possess Desiree. Desiree is young and beautiful. In fact, she is "beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere" (para 3). In short, she has the qualities that Armand lacks. When Armand first sees Desiree, he is consumed by a passion to own her at any cost, no matter her origins. He is also willing to share his family's proud name, one of the "oldest" in Louisiana.

Unfortunately for Desiree, when it appears that the happy couple's baby is not completely white, Armand no longer has a use for his wife or their child. He is no longer interested in owning what he considers a flawed woman or her child. Armand's superficial, selfish nature is revealed when he casts out Desiree and the baby. Ironically, he is the one who carries the mixed blood. Armand will never be able to understand love. Instead, he is consumed by his own arrogance.

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Armand was in love with Desiree. He fell in love with her at first sight, like a pistol shot, the story tells us. 

"Armand Aubigny riding by and seeing her there, had fallen in love with her. That was the way all the Aubignys fell in love, as if struck by a pistol shot. The wonder was that he had not loved her before; for he had known her since his father brought him home from Paris, a boy of eight, after his mother died there. The passion that awoke in him that day, when he saw her at the gate, swept along like an avalanche, or like a prairie fire, or like anything that drives headlong over all obstacles." (Chopin)

Therefore, once he was in love with her, he was consumed with the idea to marry her.  He did not care about her ancestry, or her background.

Because Desiree was adopted, and her biological origins were unknown, it is logical for Armand to assume that the reason the baby bears African ancestry traits is due to her biological family connections. 

Since Desiree's ancestry is not known, they could not rule her out as being part African, even though she does not look African.  There were people who were just 1/4 African who did not look African, but carried the ancestry in their genes. 

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