Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin

Essay by sweethbreakerJunior High, 9th grade September 2004

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Kate Chopin wrote many short stories, including Desiree's Baby. Desiree's Baby was written in the nineteenth century, a period of time in which society was patriarchal. As Mary Donaldson-Evans states, in the 19th century "women were objects of erotic delight, intended for pleasure and adornment for the male, and their physical beauty [was] paramount." Chopin's stories reflect on the period of time which she lived. Chopin wrote about men that were "bitter about woman...and are suffused by a general misanthropy and more specific misogyny" (Taylor). Chopin writes of women as the subject of the story, rather than the object by expressing her experiences in her life. Chopin focuses on "women's struggle to assert a dependent identity within bounds created by a patriarchal society." Chopin was one of the first women to express her outrage at the way women were treated and portrayed. In her time women were powerless to change their situations and, her works reflect women's inability to transcend the limitations imposed upon on her by the current society.

Woman could not fulfill their need for intellectual expansion, their independent growth and their desire to be ownerless. "Desiree's Baby" depicts the quintessential nineteenth century woman, unable to have a voice of her own.

Desiree portrays the quintessential 19th century woman: naïve, obsequious and submissive. Desiree was an orphan at a young age after being "purposely left by a party of Texans." The fact that she was abandoned at a young age adds to her insecurity and fear of rejection. Her adoptive mother, Madame Valmonde always believed that "Desiree had been sent to her by a beneficent providence to be the child of her affection." She is depicted as being sent from G-d which is further suggestive of her angelic portration. Desiree "grew to be beautiful and...