“Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin Literature Analysis

In the nineteenth century, men from the southern part of the US were very chauvinistic. They treated women like property, and used intimidating tactics to conquer them. Chopin, for example, writes that “when he (Armand) frowned, she (Desiree) trembled and when he smiled, she asked no greater blessing” (Chopin, 2006, p. 417). This statement describes men’s brutality against women.

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Men considered themselves superior, and women never questioned them. In the story, Desiree asks for permission before doing anything. She shows him a letter that Madame Valmonde sends her. He then asks him for permission to go back home despite having known that he wanted her to leave. In addition, Armand prefers a male child to a girl child. The whole American society was patriarchal, and only a male child could inherit Armand’s extensive plantation.

Chopin portrays women as caring and kind. Mrs. Valmonede shows this trait throughout the story. She adopts Desiree and brings her up as her own daughter. This trait comes out most vividly when she tells Desiree to come back home to her loving mother (Chopin, 2006).

Race also contributes extensively to the conflict in the story. White Americans consider black and colored people as non-human. They deny them freedom and other elementary rights. Armand stops mistreating his black workers for some time when his wife delivers. Later, when he realizes that his son has a unique complexion, he disowns him, accusing his mother of being the origin of the complexion. However, he realizes that he is the cause of that complexion because his mother was black (Chopin, 2006)..

The ending of the story does not change the role of women as caregivers. However, it changes the notion that women must have husbands to survive. For example, Madame Valmonde tells Desiree to leave her husband and go back home. On the other hand, the role of race changes extensively. Armand’s attitude towards blacks and colored Americans changes when he realizes that his mother was black.

Young Goodman Brown

Gooodman Brown and Faith are the protagonists while the Old Traveler, Goody Cloyse, the minister and Gookin are the antagonists. Goodman believes in the good things that his father and grandfather did in the past. However, the old traveler exposes his father and grandfather’s evils to him. He tells him how they had publicly flogged some Quakers and set some Indian’s houses on fire (Hawthorne, 1987).

The main conflict is a about faithfulness to God and the devil. This conflict slowly grows until it reaches a resolution. The conflict mostly occurs within Goodman Brown. In the process of differentiating between good and evil, he realizes that his grandfather, father, deacon, minister, catechist and his wife are followers of the devil. He is clearly confused throughout the story. For example, he agrees to attend the ceremony, yet he knows it is evil.

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The conflict reaches its climax when Brown decides to attend the ceremony after realizing that his wife is not at home. He uses the Old Traveler’s staff to fly to the ceremony. At the ceremony, he sees all the respectable members of society. Worse still, he sees his wife among the new converts. This point serves as the turning point of the story. Brown advises his wife to raise her head and pray to God, but she disobeys him. So, he prays alone. After the prayer, he finds himself in the middle of the forest. Consequently, he swears not to trust anybody. He refuses to take blessings from church officials, and his love for his wife reduces drastically.

Application of Emerson’s Ideologies

Space, time, society, labor, climate, food, locomotion, the animals, the mechanical forces, give us sincerest lessons, day by day, whose meaning is unlimited. They educate both the Understanding and the Reason. Every property of matter is a school for the understanding (Emerson as cited in Warnick, 2007, p. 95).

This statement means that human beings can use introspection in finding truths about issues in the world. Therefore, nature is very important in provoking insight into issues.

I have experienced such transportation on several occasions. The most notable incident was when I was sitting in my high school class. I wanted to come up with a source of income after high school. So, my mind deviated from class and went to possible business opportunities that could earn me money. The most interesting idea that came to my mind was starting up a supermarket. I visualized a huge supermarket with electronics, foodstuff, clothing, and vehicles.

However, I did not know where to find capital. I required two hundred million dollars to start up the business. I remembered that my mother could take a loan for me. I planned to give my proposal to her in the evening. The project is currently at very advanced stages of its accomplishment, and will be operating by August next year. I hope to find a stable source of income that will help me depend on myself.

My project agrees with Emerson’s thoughts because I refused to accept existing facts as ultimate ends (Biesta, 2009). I went a step further to look for capital, even when I knew I could not raise it. Furthermore, my idea originated from nature. My interaction with nature had put me in a difficult situation, I depended on my parents for everything, and I wanted to be free from this condition.


Biesta, G. (2009). Witnessing deconstruction in education: why quasi-transcendentalism matters. Journal Of Philosophy Of Education, 43(3), 391-404.

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Chopin, K. (2006). Desiree’s Baby. In P. Lauter, J. Alberti, R. Yarborough, M. P. Brady, & J. R. Bryer The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume C : Late Nineteenth Century: 1865-1910. (pp. 415-419). Boston, USA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Hawthorne, N. (1987). Young Goodman Brown. Web.

Warnick, B. (2007). Emerson and the Education of Nature. Philosophical Studies In Education: A Journal Of The Ohio Valley Philosophy Of Education Society, 38, 93-105. Web.

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