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Compare and Contrast of “Desiree’s Baby” and “Sweat”

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    In “Desiree Baby” the writer Kate Chopin creates the image of racial prejudice, unequal gender roles and patriarchal society. It is a tragic story which portraits the brutal attitude towards the black people. The writer shows us the barbarous world where an innocent wife faces the cruel side of her husband because the child she gave birth was not white. At the unpleasant ending, the story turns into a mournful short story because the husband, Armand discovers that he is the reason and responsible for the baby not being white.

    In the story, “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston, the narrator shows the common picture of a relationship. She is a feminist writer, talking about the rights of a woman. This is the story of a hardworking woman who lives a miserable life with her typical husband. The woman, “Delia” represents those women who are tortured by their husbands. She is being abused by her husband, Sykes. Sykes is rude, typical lower level husband. He loves to dominate Delia, although he does not earn. Delia is only source of earning. She earns money by washing clothes of white people.

    These two stories show the common picture of male domination and also tell us the intolerable life of black peoples. In both stories we see the violence against women. In “Desiree’s Baby” Armand tortures Desiree mentally where in “Sweat” Sykes dominates Delia mentally as well as physically. Armand has no consideration when dealing with blacks. He treats the slaves as possessions rather than human beings. But in “Sweat” Sykes treats his wife as his slave. Armand begins to avoid Desiree and her child when the child reaches the age of three. On the other hand, Sykes ignores Delia for washing white people’s clothes and another reason is Bertha.

    However, these two stories show the common image of male domination society. But both of the stories ended up differently. In “Desiree’s Baby” the story begins with a story of the foundling Desiree. She was adopted by the Madame Valmonde after they found her asleep at the gateway of Valmonde. They raised this nameless child as their own child. When Desiree become young and beautiful; her beauty, innocence attract the attentions of Armand. Monsieur Valmone reminds him that the girl is nameless. Others warned Armand about Desiree’s unknown background and origin before he married her. At that time, this did not matter to Armand.

    He did not care about the origin. He only considers the love and affection between them. The world of trust and love turn into a cheerless and dark world. The depressing silence into the house gives the reader a quick picture of neglected household. The lovable relationship between these two happy people turns into sour when they face the harsh reality. The vicious nature of the world becomes visible when the child came into their world. The husband starts questioning about her origin. But he is one who fell in love with her blindly and the history of her life did not matter to him.

    In any race, women are leading their life as worker or slave under men. Delia is religious and soft hearted woman. She is scared of any kind of snake. Sykes knows it well so he tries to scare her by throwing a whip on her. His childish behavior shows that he loves to dominate Delia by scaring her off. He shows his anger by kicking all the clothes away. She quietly collects all clothes again. Sykes always tries to irritate and torture Delia through his aggressive behavior. He thinks that this is a easy way to control Delia by creating violence and making her life miserable. He tortures her not only physically but also mentally.

    Another character Bertha, she is the reason of changing the relationship between Delia and Sykes. The ignorance and avoidable look of Armand shatters Desiree’s life. Her husband starts blaming her for all odds. He says that he wants her to leave the house. His vulgar and rude behavior turns the atmosphere more poisonous. She leaves the house with her child. She did not protest and easily carried all the pains which she never has done. He burns all the innocent chapters of his life. But the letter which reveals the truth of his life provides some light as well as darkness. He realizes that he is the main reason of all devastations.

    Sykes’s aggression, wild and vulgar behavior made a bitter impression in Delia’s life. She shows her hatred in the end. He crosses his limit and gets punished at the tragic end. Sykes’s strategy faded by the snake bite; it did not work on Delia but this strategy made her stronger. She did not rescue him and let him die. These two great stories leave the readers with some unanswered questions. In “Desiree’s Baby”, the narrator portraits the images of those women who tolerate all the criticisms against them without uttering any single word. The “Sweat” shows the picture of those women who protest the violence against them.

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    Compare and Contrast of “Desiree’s Baby” and “Sweat”. (2016, Nov 13). Retrieved from

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