Separate, but Equal: White Lies and Local Color
The specific attributes of social, political, and cultural implications in both literal and metaphorical boundary crossing distinguish Kate Chopin's "Desiree's Baby" as a work of absolute realism.
In therapy, a boundary is the edge of appropriate behavior in a given situation. In a boundary crossing, the therapist steps out of the "usual framework" in some way, but this action neither exploits nor harms the patient; indeed, it may advance the therapeutic alliance or the therapy itself. Examples that clearly fit this description include offering a crying patient a tissue; helping up a patient who has fallen, and even disclosing some facts about oneself (Gutheil and Gabbard, 1993). Throughout "Desiree's Baby" Chopin's characters are both consciously and subconsciously slaves of their own society. It is my belief that these three implications (social, political, and cultural) of boundary crossing which Chopin embellishes upon will have a symbiotic relevance to a particular character.
The cultural aspect of boundary crossing encompasses Desiree and Armand's marriage to each other and the child she conceives. In fact, interracial marriage was illegal in some states until 1967, so at the time of their wedding in the mid 19th Century, Chopin's implication regarding a white prominent man in wedlock with an African-American was unfathomably taboo for the time. Armand could have literally been trialed for, and hung for white man's treason, and he would have taken the whole family down with him, as Chopin explains, "He no longer loved her, because of the unconscious injury she had brought upon his home and his name" (362). The literary implication regarding this departure was that Armand hated Negroes more than he loved his own wife, the mother of his own blood whom he has also disowned. Symbolically, Armand...