Désirée's Baby Questions and Answers
by Kate Chopin

Désirée's Baby book cover
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Desiree's Baby Analysis

What was  Kate Chopin's purpose in the story  "Désirée's Baby"? 

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It is always difficult to definitively discern an author's purpose in writing a text, unless we can ask them directly, but we can assess and analyze what a text does achieve. This particular text seems to point out the arbitrary nature of race and gender hierarchies.

Désirée is a foundling, left at the gates of Valmondé, and though her origins and parentage are unknown, she "grew to be beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere,—the idol of Valmondé." She is admired all over for her wonderful qualities and yet, they are not enough to prevent Armand from throwing her out of his home when he comes to believe that she has black ancestry.

Later, of course, Armand learns that he, himself, has black parentage; he had been upset that Désirée had brought "dishonor" to his home, but he learns that it is he who is of mixed race. He learns that his mother "belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery" from a letter he finds in which she expresses her adoration of him....

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