Character Analysis of Armand in Desiree’s Baby, a Short Story by Kate Chopin

Table of Content

“Desiree’s Baby”, by Kate Chopin, is a short story that involves love, prejudice, and racism. The story takes place in Louisiana during the nineteenth century, which is a time period where separation of race was very common. Whites were wealthy and superior, and blacks were substandard, and mostly slaves. Throughout this short story, social status and how human relationships were dominated by power and appearance, become the center of the story. This story tells us about a man and how his pride challenges the way he feels about his race, as well as his wife. Armand is shown as the man who is on top of the world because he is a wealthy plantation and slave owner. His pride came before everything and everyone else, and was his number one asset. He would do anything to protect it. In “Desiree’s Baby”, by Kate Chopin, I argue the character of Desiree’s husband, Armand Aubigny, is showed as a violent and insensitive person, with a nature based only on his high social status as the only significance in his life.

Armand is a key character in the story because he is the starting point and climax of the breaking down of his marriage with Desiree, the woman with whom he fell so violent and strongly in love with. When he falls in love with Desiree, it is described as a love at first sight, surrounded by violent adjectives and comparisons, for example, “…as if struck by a pistol shot…like an avalanche, or like a prairie fire, or like anything that drives headlong over all obstacles” (Chopin 1). These comparisons relate to the character with a violent and overly strong behavior. This young woman marries Armand, who had one of the richest and proudest names in Louisiana, and who at the beginning fell in love with her in a way in which he did not care about her origins and gave her his important name. Armand’s goal in life was to keep a positive social status and appearance in public. He is a rich man, who inherited his father’s plantation, so it is no surprise that he wanted a son to pass it on to. However, what is the significance of having a son?l The importance of a son was illustrated by Desiree when she said “…Armand is the proudest father in the parish, I believe, chiefly because it is a boy, to 1 Hypophora bear his name…” (Chopin 2). This is a clear example that describes how proud Armand was for having a baby boy because a girl would have badly influence his name. If he had a girl, he would not pass down the plantation, he would not pass on his name, and he would not continue his wealthy status for the next generation to come.?

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

Armand’s narcissistic character and true colors came more into play when his son was born. We are never told whether or not Armand knew of the child’s black ancestry before Desiree brought it up, but as the child grew, so did his black skin. At the time, this was considered a disgrace for the entire family and most important in this case, to Armand. Desiree having a child with black skin brings the essential factor to the story where the characteristics of Armand clearly shows up. We can make an assumption that he noticed the child’s dark skin because his manner unexpectedly changed, and “he absented himself from home; and where there, avoided her presence and that of her child, without excuse” (Chopin 2). This is a clear example of a husband described as someone who does not give explanations to his wife, and is not present at home during the first years of his own son.

Also, this cold behavior can be examined during the farewell of his wife, “…she called to him, in a voice which must have stabbed him, if he was human. But he did not notice” (Chopin 3). He is unable to speak a word, even when losing her wife, he does not give her an answer. It was as if he no longer loved her and did not care at all about the departure of both his wife and son. Armand’s insensitive character was portrayed when he took action towards taking any memory or existence of his wife and son away from him. He began to burn items in a bonfire, which consisted of, “a graceful cradle of willow…silk gowns…bonnets and gloves…” (Chopin 4). These were mere possessions that were destroying his high social status, his famous name, and ultimately killing him.? Armand really only cared about how his family would be seen. All he really wanted was for his baby boy to carry on the family name and plantation, which is what every white wealthy son did for their father.

Being a wealthy plantation owner, his family’s name and money, is what keeps him at the top of the social ladder. Appearances are very important to him and his family, and so he looks at everything around him. This means that his home, slaves, and even Desiree, are all seen as just one of his processions that are keeping him at the top. No matter how much he loved Desiree, he could not be distracted from his life goal. Once he found out the child was mixed raced, he immediately dismissed his wife and child, and did not bend any social norms. He had no trouble being cold hearted or selfish towards his family in order to save himself. Being black was seen as wrong, and Armand was not going to let that ruin his life. He only cared about his reputation and was never going to stray away from status quo.

Cite this page

Character Analysis of Armand in Desiree’s Baby, a Short Story by Kate Chopin. (2022, Feb 01). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront