The Issues of Discrimination in the Story of Desiree’s Baby by Kate Chopin

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There is a quote that states, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” This is a quote written by Nelson Mandela who was the first black President in South Africa, it relates to the story Desiree’s baby by Kate Chopin. Discrimination is one of the key issue that the society faced in the early centuries and are still facing in today’s world. The main character, Désirée is the adopted daughter of Monsieur and Madame Valmondé, who are rich French Creoles in antebellum Louisiana. She was found as a baby by Monsieur Valmondé resting in the tail of a stone pillar near the Valmondé entry. Désirée dates Armand, also a son of rich, famous and valued French Creole family. They got married and had a baby boy together, who his skin’s color was dark. Armand starts treating Désirée in an unusual way, which causes her to feel sad, and decides to write a letter to her mom. Then, Madame Valmondé suggested that Desiree leaves her husband and returns home. Désirée shows Armand the letter and he agrees for her to leave him. She left her husband taking their baby with her, back to her mom’s house. Later, Armand finds a letter from his mom which tells that her race is banned with the variety of slavery.

Désirée’s baby is a tremendous victim of discrimination because of his skin’s color. When Désirée’s mom arrives to L’Abri, the city where Désirée and Armand live, she noticed that the baby’s color had changed, but she did not make any comments regarding his color since she did not know anything about her daughter’s background neither, the fact is that her husband found her, they adopted and raised Désirée like their own child. The author mentions, “This is not the baby! she exclaimed, in startled tones… Madame Valmondé had never removed her eyes from the child. She lifted and walked it over the window that was lightest…” On the other hand, her husband Armand reveals discrimination toward his own creation and his wife “it means, he answered lightly, that the child is not white, it means that you are not white.” She replied “it is a lie, it is not true, I am white! …” Désirée’s does not agree with the Armand’s words, and tries to convince him, but he does not change his opinion.

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Désirée decides to leave her husband, taking her baby with her since Armand changed his attitude and ignored her opinion. Chopin says “Moreover, he no longer loved her, because of the unconscious injury she had brought upon his home and his name. this quote is a clear demonstration of the cruelty and humiliation towards his wife, and it shows how important it is for him to preserve his name and his family. The author also says “Désirée went in search of her child. Zandrine was pacing the somber gallery with it. She took the little one from the nurses with no words or explanation, and descending steps, walked away, under the live oak branches”. This quote symbolize that Désirée left her town with a heartbroken, she loved her husband even though he mistreated and agrees for her to leave their home with their beloved son.

Armand find a letter from his mom which proves that his mom’s family is mixed with black race. The author mention that Armand reads the letter “night and day, she was tanking God for having so arranged our lives that our dear Armand will never know his mother, who adores him, belong to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery.” This quote reveals that Armand belongs to the race that he has been considering mediocre. He turned away his son and Désirée, in the truth he is the one who should have been turned away. Armand’s viewpoints unambiguous differentiate his father, who loved his mother irrespective of her race. Yet, it was his parent’s choice to hide Armand’s historical to him, in order to defend him of embarrassment that caused him to accept racist theories and damage Désirée’s and his son’s life. They tryied to guard Armand from obscenity, but he found out by himself anyways. The question which remained unanswered is the mystery of Désirée’s family history. What is her real race?

Discrimination is one of the most fatal and tragic reality that affects millions of people in the entire nation. The skin color of Désirée’s baby is an excellent example of racism, then she decides to leave Armand because he did not accept their son’s skin color, and far ahead, he finds out by a letter which tells him that his mother is related to the race he discriminates, his own race! One time when I was in Cape Verde, my Country of naturalization, I heard my great grandmother telling stories about Portuguese, which we were part of their colonies, they used to treat us like their slaves, and now we are an independent country, but there are some people in their country that are still treating us with discrimination.

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The Issues of Discrimination in the Story of Desiree’s Baby by Kate Chopin. (2022, Feb 01). Retrieved from

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