Desiree’s Baby

Picked By
J.F. grade 12
Media Type
Teen Reviews - Books
Kate Chopin's fiction story Desiree’s Baby is about a baby, Desiree, who is abandoned under a stone pillar in 19th century Louisiana. She is found by Madame Valmonde. At first, people were very skeptical about her past and how she got her, but as Madame Valmonde became more attached, she cared less about the girl’s mysterious past. Desiree grew up to be the Valmondes pride and joy, and she eventually fell in love with a man named Araman. They had known each other for some time, but he fell in love emphatically and instantly. Arman was cautioned about her unknown past, but he did not care, and they got married shortly after. As it had been a few months since she had seen Desiree and her child, Madame Valmonde goes and visits. She visits with Desiree and notices a difference in the baby, and exclaims that it couldn’t be her baby. But Desiree claims the baby is her, just that the baby had grown quite a bit. She asks Desiree what Arman thinks of the baby, and she exclaims that he is very happy to have a son be heir to his name, and that he is very happy to be a father. He has even been less strict with the slaves. When the baby is three months old, Arman dramatically changes his attitude again, and is back to his old ways. Desiree sits and looks at her child, and shrieks and with fright, realizes that her baby is not white. Desiree is quick to deny the allegations that she is not white, but her attempts to convince Arman are futile. She writes to her mother to explain her predicament, and her mother says she should go back home and to bring the baby with her. She shows the letter to Arman and asks if she should go, to which he says yes, and he wants her to, being disgraced by her presence now. She walks out of the house with her baby, and doesn’t walk towards her mothers house, but towards the bayou, and isn’t seen again. Arman then begins to throw the belongings of both the baby and Desiree into a large bonfire. He is about to add letters from his engagement into the fire, when he notices a letter that is different from all the others. The letter is from his mother to his father, explaining how glad she was that their son would never find out how she was part of the race that was cursed with slavery.