There were times when racism was rather common than abnormal. The story “Desiree’s Baby” tells us about those times, sad and strange, when people judged one another not based on the personal features, but based on the skin color.
An abandoned girl, Desiree, is adopted by a rich family. They bring her up, moreover, they find for her a rich husband. That sounds like a nice story, however, all is just starting there.
The story is filled with foreshadowing, so, we can suspect that not all is that simple. These cases of foreshadowing give the hints on the future current of the events even though the entire situation looks fine.
The first foreshadowing is when Armond, the future husband of Desiree, starts approaching her. The author indicates, that “his dark face…”. But how comes that a strict slave owner has a dark face? This is something that makes one think, especially, when we come to the most emotional part of the story.
The second foreshadowing is when Madame Volmonde, the stepmother of Desiree, comes to pay a visit to the family of Armond. When she comes to their property, she even winced when she saw the lands. They looked as if no caring hand of a woman ever touched them.
Moreover, people working on those lands looked like bothered by something. It seemed that they forgot how to be happy and careless. No need to mention those were slaves, but this already indicates the attitude of their owners to them.
However, Desiree gets married to Armond, which seems to be a good ending to the story, however, this is the point when the actual story starts. The couple gets their first son, and… the baby has a darker skin than it should be. Can you guess who is guilty? Well, Armond cannot accept that the reason may be in his roots, so, he accuses Desiree. She is adopted, so, nobody knows her parents. After victimizing Desiree, the family of Armond kicks her and her son out of the house…
In the end, Armond gets to know something interesting about his past. His mother was black. So, Desiree doesn’t have anything to do with the skin color of her son, or, rather, of their son. With this, the story ends. However, one question is still open: what has happened with Desiree and her child?
And here, one more foreshadowing comes. The young woman didn’t return to the Volmonde family. She has selected another way. What if she and her son had a chance to survive? Probably, however, the story doesn’t mention anything about it.
Kate Chopin uses symbolism and foreshadowing very widely in her story. So, even though some events may seem to give hope, we still feel, that something bad is going to happen. There are some deeper motives in the story, as well, however, those are rather for a bigger and a deeper research for writing your essay.
Chopin, Kate. Desiree`s Baby. https://www.katechopin.org/desirees-baby-text/. Accessed 19 Jun. 2018.
Sollors, Werner. Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature. Harvard University Press, 24 Apr. 1997, https://www.questia.com/library/96646712/neither-black-nor-white-yet-both-thematic-explorations. Accessed 19 Jun. 2018.