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Characters and Society in Chopin’s “Desirée’s Baby” & Sedaris’ “A Modest Proposal”

A striking example of the struggle between a human and society is the story “Desirée’s Baby”, written by Kate Chopin. The main character, Desirée, is presented to the reader as a beautiful, gentle, and graceful lady. In particular, this is expressed in her love story with her husband, who at first glance, was delighted with her appearance and character. However, after some time, Desirée’s life changes dramatically, and she is forced to leave her husband.

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Desirée’s husband, looking at her and her child, told her that she was black and, therefore, her son also belonged to this race. The fury of the man was reflected in his attitude towards slaves, but the main change occurred in relations with his wife. He could neither refute nor accept this fact, and could no longer experience positive feelings for this woman. Her mother advised her to leave, and her husband agreed since he no longer wanted to see her or her son (Chopin, 2017). However, Desirée remained the same girl with whom he had once fallen in love, and her son was his only child. All of these values ​​were in danger due to the racism inherent in that time and, in particular, in Desirée’s husband.

Even though such an attitude towards people, especially close ones, is now considered unacceptable, in those days it could be noted everywhere. Unfortunately, the only result of this behavior is the ruined life of the young woman and the child. Thus, racial discrimination had a terrible effect on the lives of two people at once. In any case, Desirée remained independent and decided to fight for life on her own. In this case, she could not achieve the American Dream. For her, it was happy family life, but her husband refused to accept her as she is and did not help her to implement her dream. However, she has a strong character which allows her to make her future life peaceful and pleasant. She raises her son and creates her life path, which is not similar to the standard one but is also happy.

Another example of social pressure can be found in the story “A Modest Proposal” by David Sedaris. The central theme addressed in this story is discrimination against sexual minorities and social pressure on people of non-traditional sexual orientation. Indeed, society is designed in such a way that many layers of the population often have to exist under high pressure for no apparent reason (Sowell, 2019). In particular, the author considers marriage between homosexuals, describing his attitude to this topic in an unusual way.

According to the author, the main problem is that people of non-traditional orientation should seek permission to have an opportunity of getting married. This largely infringes on their rights and leaves them in a position different from people with a traditional sexual orientation (Sedaris, 2015). Thus, one of the main desires of the story’s character is to defeat society and to oppose social norms by marrying a man and building a strong relationship with him. He wins in this struggle with society, which, however, still has many unresolved problems. The described couple does not fit into the usual picture of the American Dream including a regular heterosexual couple. However, it seems that these people can be happy without it and have their view on the right and pleasant life. Eventually, the character builds a life suitable for him, so the views of other people on this issue are not important for him.

References

  1. Chopin, K. (2017). The awakening & other stories. Morrisville, NC: lulu.com
  2. Sedaris, D. (2015). A modest proposal. New Yorker. Web.
  3. Sowell, T. (2019). Discrimination and disparities. London, United Kingdom: Hachette UK.

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StudyCorgi. "Characters and Society in Chopin’s “Desirée’s Baby” & Sedaris’ “A Modest Proposal”." February 8, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/characters-and-society-in-chopins-desires-baby-and-amp-sedaris-a-modest-proposal/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Characters and Society in Chopin’s “Desirée’s Baby” & Sedaris’ “A Modest Proposal”." February 8, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/characters-and-society-in-chopins-desires-baby-and-amp-sedaris-a-modest-proposal/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Characters and Society in Chopin’s “Desirée’s Baby” & Sedaris’ “A Modest Proposal”'. 8 February.

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