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Social Role Play and the Search For Identityin Chopin's Desiree's Baby

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Petia Ivanova, 41263 Social Role Play and the Search For Identity in Chopin's Desiree's Baby When I think about women's role in our society, especially nowadays, the first word that comes to my mind is 'exhausted'. What I mean is that this subject is exhausted. There are so many literary and sociological interpretations of the physical and psychological female image that whatever I say or prove would be just another attempt to understand the 'incomprehensible'. It's not because I am a woman, or may be exactly because I am. But here the important expression is 'I am' and the extension can be endless. And what a human life is but an everlasting search for the right word that would complete the sentence. ...read more.


The story also questions the potential fulfillment of woman's identity, as Chopin, herself, termed it 'mother-woman'. In her portrayal of D�sir�e, a woman whose self-worth and self-exploration is intrinsically linked to that of her husband, Chopin opened the door to her lifelong query into a woman's struggle for a place where she could fully belong. Chopin began her literary career in the 1880s in St. Louis, although many of her stories take place in Louisiana, where she had lived for over a decade (Taylor, qtd. by Sterling). In this society women were almost exclusively defined by their spousal and maternal roles. According to Sterling , Kate Chopin created female characters that test the boundaries of acceptable behavior for women and explore the psychological and societal ramifications of their actions and desires. ...read more.


'they may pacify, heal, enlighten, comfort and love' (Skaggs, qtd. by Byrd ). The birth of his son suddenly transforms Armand into a more humane and caring person. But again the child becomes the reason for his opposite change too. In this story, Desiree's baby proves "death-dealing" because it has been darkened, both figuratively and literally by Armand (Papke). The irony here is that both Armand and Desiree found their firm ground in what eventually became the cause of their destruction. Desiree's identity stemmed from her role as Armand's wife and mother of his son; when he denies both her and the child, she loses it. And for Armand, it stemmed in the superiority of his lineage and his race, that eventually became false. The question of one's personality is evocative for endless discussions and analyses and I'm going to end it for now with the following: 'Quot capita, tot sententiae. ...read more.

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