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Desiree's Baby Analysis of Racism

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 824 words Published: 1st Aug 2017

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We live our life within the boundaries of our belief systems and moral guidelines we were raised with such as social classes and race .The story tells about love, slavery, and racism victimizes everybody without equivalent consequence. The story is heaped with ironies. The narrator uses symbolism and irony to convey the themes of half-blood, racial hatred, unequal gender roles, and social ladder. Irony and symbolism are also used to enhance the story, captivating the minds of the reader until the very end. Foreshadowing his belief that Desiree’s  ancestry is possibly African-American . As the child begin to get older her skin pigmentation darkens and Armand feels as the baby is not his child “Monsieur Valmonde grew practical and wanted things well considered: that is, the girl’s obscure origin. Armand looked into her eyes and did not care. He was reminded that she was nameless. What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana?” Armands makes you feel as since the child had African-American heritage he don’t want any responsibility for the child be name after him . Desiree mother feels like there was a racial indifferences between the child and the parents after she took the child to the window to see if it was the lighting in the home . “This is not the baby!” she exclaimed, in startled tones. French was the language spoken at Valmonde in those days.” This comparison between Desiree’s baby and Zandrine could be that she feels the they are both bi-racial. At this point Desiree’s notices the difference in her the baby herself,

When the baby was about three months old, Desiree awoke one day to the conviction that there was something in the air menacing her peace. It was at first too subtle to grasp. It had only been a disquieting suggestion; an air of mystery among the blacks; unexpected visits from far-off neighbors who could hardly account for their coming.

One of La Blanche’s little quadroon boys–half naked too–stood fanning the child slowly with a fan of peacock feathers. Desiree’s eyes had been fixed absently and sadly upon the baby, while she was striving to penetrate the threatening mist that she felt closing about her. She looked from her child to the boy who stood beside him, and back again; over and over. “Ah!” It was a cry that she could not help; which she was not conscious of having uttered. The blood turned like ice in her veins, and a clammy moisture gathered upon her face.

She stayed motionless, with gaze riveted upon her child, and her face the picture of fright.

She confronts her husband for understanding,

    ‘Armand,’ she panted once more, clutching his arm, ‘look at our child. What does it mean? Tell me.’

    He coldly but gently loosened her fingers from about his arm and thrust the hand away from him. ‘Tell me what it means!’ she cried despairingly.

    ‘It means,’ he answered lightly, ‘that the child is not white; it means that you are not white.

She questions what Armand says and provides evidence to the fact,

‘”It is a lie; it is not true, I am white! Look at my hair, it is brown; and my eyes are gray, Armand, you know they are gray. And my skin is fair,” seizing his wrist. “Look at my hand; whiter than yours, Armand,” she laughed hysterically.

Armand burns everything that belonged to Desiree and the baby in a huge bonfire. Perhaps as a ritual cleansing of the African American blood, that had tainted, L’Abri, his sheltered place.

 Some weeks later there was a curious scene enacted at L’Abri. In the centre of the smoothly swept back yard was a great bonfire. Armand Aubigny sat in the wide hallway that commanded a view of the spectacle; and it was he who dealt out to a half dozen negroes the material which kept this fire ablaze.

While gathering things for the fire he discovers a letter from his mother to his father revealing that it is he that definitely has the Negro blood; although Desiree’s parentage is unknown.

The last thing to go was a tiny bundle of letters; innocent little scribblings that Desiree had sent to him during the days of their espousal. There was the remnant of one back in the drawer from which he took them. But it was not Desiree’s; it was part of an old letter from his mother to his father. He read it. She was thanking God for the blessing of her husband’s love:–

    ‘But above all,’ she wrote.  ‘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 slavery.’

 

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