“Desiree’s Baby” Short Story by Kate Chopin


In the short story, Desiree’s Baby Kate Chopin depicts truth of life speaking about social problems of women and role of racial differences. In this short story, a women character of embodies qualities and unique characteristics typical for many 19th century women, and reflects their expectations, values and morals. Thesis Armand’s inability to accept and understand Desiree leads the family to conflict and breakdown of the family.

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Issues that rise up in the story

In “Desiree’s Baby, Chopin portrays the problems of racial differences and social prejudice towards “color” of skin. In “Desirees Baby” the main problem is that the society does not want to accept the child who does not match their race. Desiree has to abandon her husband and her house because she has born a “non-white” child. Even Armand, a farther, depicted as cold unsympathetic man who has to obey social opinion.

The only possible way for Desiree is “Come home to Valmonde; back to your mother who loves you”. The important of her story is that she depicts suffering of a woman through woman’s eyes being well aware of problems caused by racial discrimination. If Desiree’s silence has also been prompted in large part by a desire to save her own face, then her decision makes perfect sense. Presumably she will then be able to confess her sins with considerable assurance of ready absolution.

Chopin portrays that a conflict is difficult to solve because of cultural prejudices and values followed by the society. The need for signs to help guide the way in either case is apparent. In an empty landscape and a culture lacking in the details which indicate appropriate conduct, something is wanted to stand in for the missing things. Chopin describes: “Presently her husband entered the room, and without noticing her, went to a table and began to search among some papers which covered it.

Armand says: “It means,” he answered lightly, “that the child is not white; it means that you are not white.” (Chopin n.d.). The “strikingness” of the young American woman, and her capacity for the embodiment of intangible quality, are precisely what serious students of American mores need to consult as a kind of combination. To confirm his belief in American self-confidence, he provides his own set of figures. Desiree and her baby are not accepted by the society because of false standards and traditions established by the majority.

Chopin demonstrates that racial identity is important for a 19th century family. In turn, this short story plunges readers into the anxiety that underlay the culture. It was anxiety over how to determine the identity of things in a society where there were no commonly accepted patterns to guarantee confident recognition. The woman’s sign is being actively interpreted. Family happiness is assigned according to the impact of the particular image by which a woman is perceived and to the idea conceived about her.

It is easy enough to say that the face conceived of by means of the emotions of love, or the face perceived through the mists of whisky, cannot guarantee what this woman is really like. Chopin describes thoughts and feelings of the baby’s father: “He thought Almighty God had dealt cruelly and unjustly with him; and felt, somehow, that he was paying Him back in kind when he stabbed thus into his wife’s soul. Moreover he no longer loved her, because of the unconscious injury she had brought upon his home and his name” (Chopin n.d.). Perception of the race and the choice to emulate it happen first; cognitive reflection follows; last comes interpretation.

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As the result of these unfolding stages of consciousness and instinct, each person acquires a unique personality — one which is created by the complex interchange between cultural values and personal beliefs. This interchange, mediated by thought, is predicated upon the almost selection of the perceived image which receives its confirming sign as a cultural type. That the object shown in Chopin’s drawing is a woman in the figure of the mother is of great significance.

There is ample evidence that the concept of the value of the American home most favored at the turn of the century rested on the notion that impressionable children turn to the female object as tile basis for the moral conduct that will shape their future lives. Truth lay in appearances, and appearances paralleled the child’s capacity to recognize the elemental shapes that form the sensible world of experience. It was drawing what you “knew” that allowed subjectivity to run amok.


In sum, the short story portrays that the ideal of female was established by the society which believed that women did not have the same sexual desires as men. In contrast to this statement, through women’s eyes Chopin depicts that women have the same rights as men to love and to be loved. But deeply implied in the words and pictures dedicated to the definition of the correct American masculine type is the sexual role accorded to the American female as mother, wife, and daughter. The nation run by American men would continue to be strong and worthy through the perpetuation of the right race.

Works Cited

Chopin, K. Desirees Baby. N.d. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, August 26). “Desiree’s Baby” Short Story by Kate Chopin. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/desirees-baby-short-story-by-kate-chopin/

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"“Desiree’s Baby” Short Story by Kate Chopin." StudyCorgi, 26 Aug. 2021, studycorgi.com/desirees-baby-short-story-by-kate-chopin/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "“Desiree’s Baby” Short Story by Kate Chopin." August 26, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/desirees-baby-short-story-by-kate-chopin/.


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