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The Influence of the Times on Desirees Baby - Book Report/Review Example

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The Influence of the Times on Desirees Baby

Chopin's writings were influenced by her personal life experiences, which were quite extraordinary.
Monsieur Valmonde, a Creole gentleman, finds the infant Desiree abandoned by unknown persons near his home .He and his wife bring up the child as their own. Desiree grows up into a beautiful young woman, with whom their young aristocratic neighbor, Armand Aubigny falls in love. They get married, and Desiree is very happy at first. Soon she has a baby son and Armand is proud and happy. He becomes gentle even towards the slaves. Soon it becomes apparent to everybody around her that the baby is of mixed blood .Armand becomes cold towards her and when she asks him what was the meaning of it, Armand tells her bluntly that neither baby nor she is white. In despair, Desiree writes to her adopted mother who tells her to come home with the baby. She asks her husband whether she should go, and he tells her brutally to go. Desiree takes her baby and disappears into the bayou and is never seen again. Some time later, Armand puts everything that belonged to Desiree and her baby into the flames. During that time he comes across an old letter written by his mother to his father which reveals the secret that his own mother was not white.
Written in a simple style, the story centers about the complex subject of miscegenation. The protagonist Desiree, is a woman of unknown parentage, who was found "lying asleep in the shadow of the big stone pillar"(Chopin) by Monsiur Valmonde, has been brought up as their own daughter by the childless Creole couple, Monsieur and Madame Valmonde. "The prevailing belief was that she had been purposely left by a party of Texans, whose canvas covered wagons, later in the day, had crossed the ferry that Cotton Mais kept, just below the plantation."(Chopin) The allusion to the "canvas covered wagons" gives us a hint of the time of the story- before the advent of the railway line in the nineteenth century. Kate Chopin has set her story some time before, when canvas covered wagons were the preferred mode of travel.
Desiree grows up to be a beautiful young woman, the typical Creole maiden. "For the girl grew to be beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere - the idol of Valmonde".( Chopin) Carl A. Brasseaux, in his book, "French, Cajun, Creole, Huma" writes that women from Creole families were good -looking, polite and vivacious. The Creoles of Louisiana, who were the white descendants of Spanish and French ancestors, considered themselves superior to others. According to Brasseaux, the word Creole came to mean high born The Valmondes' aristocratic Creole neighbor, Armand Aubigny falls in love with Desiree and marries her in spite of cautions by Monsieur Volmonde about Desiree's unknown ancestry..
Kate Chopin lived in a time when America was at acrucial stage in its history. Having become independent some time ago, America had plunged into a Civil War when Kate Chopin was in her formative years. Coming out of the Civil War, America had become one of the most prosperous nations in the world People were optimistic.. People had started questioning the old beliefs. This is reflected in Chopin's works. In "Desiree's Baby", she questions the old colonial ideas of the ...Show more

Summary

Desiree's Baby" a short story written by Kate Chopin, has earned critical acclaim ever since it was published in 1893. Set in the Louisiana of the nineteenth century before the Civil War, "Desiree's Baby" examines the whole gamut of relationships that existed during the time, from the relationship between mother and daughter, husband and wife to those of slave and master .The story echoes the customs of the time and place, with its hordes of slaves and large plantations…
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