woman holding a baby walking out into the bayou

Désirée's Baby

by Kate Chopin

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What is the relationship between Madame Valmondé and Désirée?

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Madame Valmonde is, put simply, Désirée's mother through adoption. However, the depth of their relationship seems to go far deeper than that, and Madame Valmonde herself even ascribes a spiritual significance to her relationship with her adopted daughter. The Valmondes raised Désirée since they found her at the gates of their plantation as a baby, and since then, she has grown to be an ideal young woman.

Madame Valmonde displays an extraordinary maternal love towards Désirée and, surprisingly, continues to do so even after learning of her mixed heritage. She tends to place religious significance on finding Désirée as a baby and thinks that it is God's will that she has been placed in their lives. Though it is ultimately futile, Madame Valmonde just wants a happy life for Désirée.

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