Genuine and Superficial Love in Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby

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Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby” explores the theme of love, both authentic and superficial, highlighting the darker aspects of human nature and relationships. The bond between Desiree and her adoptive parents exemplifies genuine love, devoid of prejudice and built on affection. When a young Desiree is discovered by Mousier Valmande at his Louisiana estate’s gate, she is taken in and raised by her adoptive parents. Despite her mysterious origins, they truly love and cherish her. Madam Valmande views Desiree as a Providential gift, showering her with genuine affection since she cannot bear children of her own. In response to such unconditional love, Desiree grows into a beautiful and loving person, possessing spiritual innocence and purity.

The love that Desiree’s parents have for her is tested when she is accused of not being white. Despite this accusation, her mother still considers her as her child and welcomes her and her child back home, saying, “return to your mother who loves you.” This illustrates their enduring bond. Similarly, the relationship between Armand Aubigny’s parents also exemplifies genuine love and its consequences. Armand’s father, a wealthy landowner, truly loved Armand’s mother and was willing to overlook her race. He even left his plantation and prestigious name in Louisiana to be with her in a foreign land, France. Their genuine love created a happy and relaxed life for them and even improved the lives of their slaves. In contrast, Armand and Desiree’s relationship demonstrates a superficial love driven by pride and prejudice, ultimately leading to destruction and death. Armand, like his father, is a wealthy plantation owner, but he rules over his slaves with a strict hand due to his commanding and demanding nature.

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Armand’s love is driven by intense passion, sweeping through obstacles like an avalanche or fire. He initially states that he does not care about Desiree’s background or lack of a name before their marriage. To him, her name is insignificant compared to the prestigious and ancient one he can give her in Louisiana. However, soon after getting married, Armand’s love is put to the test, and he fails. Despite initially appearing proud of his newborn baby, his feelings are not motivated by genuine love but rather by pride. This is because the baby is a boy who will carry on the important family name. When the baby turns three months old, Armand discovers that the child is of mixed race and accuses Desiree of not being white. As a result, Armand is no longer able to love his child or wife because he views this as an attack on his family name. This exposes the superficiality of Armand’s love. Driven by prejudice against people of African descent and wounded pride, he chooses to abandon his family, bringing destruction to them and ultimately tarnishing his own name.

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Genuine and Superficial Love in Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby. (2022, Feb 01). Retrieved from

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