Désirée's Baby Questions and Answers
by Kate Chopin

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How does the setting of "Desiree's Baby" affect the story?

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The short story "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin takes place in Louisiana, in the Deep South. It is placed inin the antebellum era, or the era before the American Civil War. Mr. and Mrs. Valdemonte adopt a young child, a toddler, who they find abandoned at the base of a stone pillar at the edge of their plantation and name Desiree. When Desiree is 18, a young man named Armand Aubigny rides by and falls in love with her.

Desiree and Armand marry, and he takes her to live at the plantation he inherited from his parents. They have a baby, and at first the couple seems happy together. However, as their baby grows, his skin darkens. Armand accuses Desiree of being part black and asks her to leave. However, instead of going home to her mother, heartbroken Desiree takes the baby and walks off into the wilderness of the bayou country and is never seen again. In the last paragraph, Chopin makes it clear to readers that the baby is dark because Armand, not Desiree, is part black.

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