woman holding a baby walking out into the bayou

Désirée's Baby

by Kate Chopin

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Topics for Discussion

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1. Define the nature of Armand's strengths and weaknesses.

2. In what ways does Armand's cruelty result from socially approved racist attitudes that defined the South in the nineteenth century? What other factors contribute to make him cruel?

3. Describe the nature of Armand's love for Desiree. Describe the factors that contribute to his love for her.

4. Identify those indications in the story that suggest Armand knows all along that he, and not Desiree, has mixed blood.

5. Why do you suppose Armand is willing to marry Desiree even though her ancestry is unknown? What, if anything, does this reveal about his character?

6. Can you identify Chopin's references that link Armand with evil? How do these references differ from those that identify Desiree with good?

7. What message does Chopin wish to convey by titling her story "Desiree's Baby"?

8. What are the motivating forces that cause Desiree to disappear into the bayou?

9. How does Desiree's motherly love compare with that of Madame Valmonde's?

10. Who do you think is the narrator of this story? How do you determine this?

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