Class Blog #4 – Desiree’s Baby: The Importance of Historical Context

Kate Chopin’s writing, done in the lately 19th century, had several Realist characteristics, and focused on the the historical contexts of the time. Boundary crossing, primarily seen in the form of different classes or races intermixing, was a very common trait in her writing . Desiree’s Baby is a great example of this, as it focuses heavily on the idea of mixing class and race, and the problems it creates in society. I believe that to fully understand this work, one needs to familiarize themselves with the history of the area and the time period. I would like to particularly point out the character of Armand. Armand completely removes himself from the life of Desiree and the baby when he finds out that the baby is of mixed race. On the first reading, one immediately interprets Armand as the “villain” of the story. I think these 100 or so years that have passed have changed the meaning of the story and characters for us. Back then, being of mixed blood was definitely looked down upon. The region where Chopin wrote was struggling with issues of racism. Even though Armand is ironically shown to be the cause of the mixed child, I believe that the audience of the story at the time it was written would have identified differently with him, not necessarily viewing him as we do now. I believe that this is a feature with most Realist writing. Since Realism portrays such a vivid image of what is currently around the writer, it is hard to fully understand the work without thoroughly looking into the historical contexts in which it was written.

One Response to “Class Blog #4 – Desiree’s Baby: The Importance of Historical Context”

  1. Kim Sasser says:

    Great argument here. A little digging in to the reception history of this piece would be fascinating…a final paper project?

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