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Explore and evaluate the narrative voice in Desiree's Baby. What does the language of the character reveal of her attitudes towards the social issues explored in the story?

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Introduction

Explore and evaluate the narrative voice in Desiree's Baby. What does the language of the character reveal of her attitudes towards the social issues explored in the story? The story was written during an era when racism was prevalent. It tells of a woman of unknown origin wedding a wealthy slave owner. The couple has a child, whose skin seems to be darker than their own. Since Desiree's origin is unknown her husband, Armand, blames the color of the child on Desiree rejecting her and the child for fear that this would mar his family name. Unfortunately, Desiree loves her husband so much that she feels that she cannot live without him. Furthermore she dreads that society would discard both her and her son and she kills herself and her child. In this story the author tries to evoke sympathy towards Desiree while showing the different social issues of the time. We will examine this feeling throughout the text. Madame Valmonde is driving over to L' Abri to see her daughter Desiree and the baby. She says to herself "it seemed but yesterday that Desiree was little more than a baby herself". This tells us that Desiree is a very young and venerable which makes the reader feel a little sympathy for her. ...read more.

Middle

We also realize that Armand is keeping her prisoner and that she is isolated and lonely. This reflects the type of possessive love that is being portrayed and the atmosphere that Desiree is living in. "sad looking place, which for many years had not known the gentle presence of a mistress, old Monsieur Aubigny having married and buried his wife in France, and she having loved her own land too well ever to leave it". This shows that what starts as good (the marriage), ends up bad (the death of Madame Aubigny and Desiree). Tension is built up towards the death of Desiree and her baby when the author says that "solemn oaks grew close to it" ('it' meaning the house). Oak trees usually give a lot of shade, so when the author says that "solemn oaks grew next to it", he means that the oaks covered the house making it dark and eerie. This oppressive darkness seems just like a prison. Armand rules with a strong hand over his slaves, Desiree and L.Abri, because it says that "young Aubigny's rule was a strict one, too, and under it his Negroes had forgotten how to be gay." This causes us to worry about Desiree and her baby and whether something bad would happen to them. ...read more.

Conclusion

This also relates to her emotions as she is now devastated. She is also mentally 'fragile'. "Bayou; and she did not come back again." She walked into the swampy offshoot of a river. She walks in and does not return. Armand burns all her possessions and the baby's. This shows the annihilation of both, removing their memory from his life, and the world. "Night and day, I thank the good God for having so arranged our lives that our dear Armand will never know that his mother, who adores him, belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slaves." In an instant the tables are turned and Armand faces the stark truth - he is of the colored race and no this wife. Therefore he is the one to blame for the color of the child, its demise as will as Desiree's. There is a lesson to be learned from this story. We should not judge people by the color of their skin but by who they are as a human being, Chopin attempts to get across that prejudice is evil of society and that causes hatred amongst men. It destroys rather than unites, especially when people refuse to look any further than a person's appearance, as the saying goes, "never judge the book by its cover". ?? ?? ?? ?? Anuraag Agarwal English A2 Standard 5/9/2007 ...read more.

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