For Love or Hatred: The True Reason Armand Married Desiree

Kate Chopin’s short story “Desiree’s Baby” involves strategic deception and heartless betrayal absorbing the life of Armand Aubigny. The disgust of living a life of secrecy leads Armand on a path of deceitfulness, cheating his wife and son of a normal life together. Armand is aware of his mixed race descent and tries to hide it through marrying Desiree, someone who could not dispute false identity charges. Armand’s love and marriage to Desiree are only for her pale complexion and unknown origin which will either help camouflage his background or provide him the ability to deflect blame to Desiree if a child is born noticeably mixed. Observable changes in attitude from before the birth of his son to months after his son is born help portray his frustration of living with a family secret with which he struggles. “Desiree’s Baby” ends with a revealing notion; Armand is of mixed race. Armand reads a letter written to his father by his mother describing the truth of Armand’s ancestry. “But above all, night and day, 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.” (285) At first, one might think that Armand is finding out the truth along with the reader, but after a second reading or more attention to textual detail one would come to find out he knew all along. Armand keeps the letter written by his mother with letters written to him by Desiree in one of his drawers, thus proving he is aware of its existence and proclamation. Moreover, he kept only a remnant of this letter, showing he only cares for the part of the letter that is of most mportance, his true ancestry, affirming us his knowledge of his situation. Furthermore, Armand was eight years old when his mother passed away in Paris, an age old enough to distinguish between Black and White races and Armand undoubted…

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