Racism In The Father Of Desiree’s Baby By Kate Chopin
Arielle Dobard English 1302
The Father of Desiree’s Baby
Racism was very evident in this story and also in the time period before the American Civil War.
Racism is poor treatment or violence against another race. It can also be another race believing that they are better than the other race. This short story is all about racism during the slavery times. The story was written on November 24, 1892. This story takes place in southern Louisiana before the American Civil War.
The Armand’s family was obviously caused by racial outlooks and social influences. The short story was written based on a time when racial prejudice and discrimination was familiar mainly thorough out America’s southern states. The views of people’s personal legacy by the community help aid a social status permitting people to be successful in business and personal activities, in 1850’s it was very usual behavior for racial discrimination in the south. The sight of white advantages over the African American slaves was what was mandatory to maintain that civilization’s control. The United States Civil War was a war of much destruction. It destroyed a whole society.
Living during those difficult times when society felt the only way to maintain their way of life was to create societal moral beliefs. It was based solely on the idea of one race being greater to another race
. This story embodies how the author saw her experiences that she had lived through.
This story tells the terrors of slavery before the American Civil War.
This story represents the importance of how serious discrimination and slavery was in southern Louisiana.
The story began as it could be a fantasy. They seemed like the perfect couple. They were happily in love.
The conclusive line of “her name doesn’t matter when I can give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana” (Chopin 1) makes you imagine that their love is unconditional.
The story then progress through the building of what Armand is really concerned
With, this is the reputation of his family name in the community. He was wealthy and belonged to a very wealthy family.
As time passes Desiree and Armand became blessed with a child. Everything was going great in their marriage until the baby became older. The next few line explains it clearly.
“When the baby was about three months old Désirée awoke one day to the conviction that there was something in the air menacing her peace. It was at ﬁrst too subtle to grasp” (Chopin 195).” It had only been a
disquieting suggestion; an air of mystery among the blacks;
unexpected visits from far-oﬀ neighbors who could hardly account
for their coming” (Chopin 195). Then a strange, an awful change in her husband’s
manner, which she dared not ask him to explain” (Chopin 195). “When he spoke to
her, it was with averted eyes, from which the old love-light seemed to
have gone out”(Chopin 195).” He absented himself from home; and when there,
avoided her presence and that of her child,...
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Set in Louisiana in the mid-nineteenth century on two white-owned plantations some time before the Civil War, the story explores the psychological impacts of slavery and racial inequality. The violence and physical abuse that was so much a part of slavery exist only on the fringes of the story, implied in Armand’s “strict” treatment of his slaves and his ambiguous but likely sexual relationship with La Blanche, which makes sense given that all of the major characters of the story are the owners of the plantations. Put another way, the story explores the way that racism shapes and distorts the psychology and lives of the white slave owners who control and benefit from it.
The story shows several examples of how white perceptions of black inferiority, and in fact even how internalized black perceptions of black inferiority, lead to race being a taboo subject that causes characters to act in morally corrupt ways and to feel guilt, shame, and fear about their actions and identities. Without racial prejudice and the shame it generates, the story’s tragedy would never have unfolded. Madame Aubigny would not have felt the need to hide the truth of her own background. Armand would not have turned against Désirée and their baby when their son’s appearance identified him as a mixed-race child. Madame Valmondé would not have kept the reality of the child’s background from Désirée despite recognizing the truth herself. And Désirée, once she realized the significance of her child’s features and was accused by Armand of being part-black herself, would not have responded with such overwhelming shame that she walked into the bayou with her baby, killing herself and the child.
But the story pushes further in its condemnation of racism, by showing how the racism of its white characters causes them to see a person’s race as more important than that person’s self. Because, fundamentally, other than the fact that the child of Désirée and Armand reveals that it has a racial heritage that is both black and white, nothing else has changed. Désirée is still the same woman with whom Armand fell in love and who brightened his life, her baby is the same baby she adored, and she is still the daughter of her loving parents. And yet the mere fact of her racial history causes Armand to reject her and the baby, to cease to see her as the woman he loves and instead to see her as simply black and therefore beneath him. And for Désirée, essentially, to reject herself and her baby out of shame. The twist ending of the story makes obvious the idiocy and tragedy of this way of seeing the world, with racial background as its most important feature, since it becomes evident that one’s racial background isn’t obvious at all, and thus nothing to base assessments of oneself or of others.