Exclusion in On Being Brought from Africa to America and Desires Baby

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Desire's Baby" by Kate Chopin and "On Being Brought from Africa to America" by Phillis Wheatley are powerful works that depict the painful emotions of women who are excluded from desirable states and spaces solely because of their color. "Desire's Baby" is narrated in the third person, but Wheatley's poem is a direct address to the reader…

Introduction


Exclusion was among the first of Desiree's experiences, but more fortunate events shielded her consciousness from any immediate injury. Exclusion from the womb into the world must have been more traumatic for her than her exclusion from the world of her birth parents. Fate directed her toward the childless Valmonde couple who happily adopted her and showered their love on her, refusing to speculate unprofitably on the riddle of her origin: "Madame Valmonde abandoned every speculation but the one that Desiree had been sent to her by a beneficent Providence to be the child of her affection, seeing that she was without child of the flesh." When she was found, the child had been old enough to cry for 'Dada' but she soon shed all those memories and "grew to be beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere - the idol of Valmonde."
This pleasant state of existence was not disturbed even when Desiree left her foster parents to live with her husband Armand Aubigny who had seen her once and "fell in love, as if struck by a pistol shot." The words of caution spoken by Monsieur Valmonde pass unheeded, the "obscure origin" of his would-be bride is nothing to Aubigny, it mattered nothing to him that she was 'nameless': "What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana"
For another year Desire continued to l ...
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