Désirée's Baby Questions and Answers
by Kate Chopin

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Why did Armand's mother never leave France?  

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In Kate Chopin's short story "Desiree's Baby," Desiree, a seemingly white-skinned woman, and her husband Armand, a seemingly white-skinned man, have a baby that seems to be of mixed racial descent. Armand claims Desiree must have black ancestors because he can't possibly be of mixed heritage. The story reveals eventually that Armand's family history is more complex than he realizes.

Early in the story, the narrator tells us, literally, why Armand's mother didn't leave France:

When she (Desiree) reached L’Abri she shuddered at the first sight of it, as she always did. It was a sad looking place, which for many years had not known the gentle presence of a mistress, old Monsieur Aubigny having married and buried his wife in France, and she having loved her own land too well ever to leave it.

This passage describes the Aubigny manor, L'Abri, which has apparently suffered for not having a mistress to oversee its upkeep. This is because Madame Aubigny died in France. The quote also says that...

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