Short Story #218: Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin

Title:  Desiree's Baby

Author:  Kate Chopin


Kate Chopin.  Source: has just given birth to her young boy and Madame Valmonde is coming over to visit the estate where Desiree and her husband, Aubigny live.  Valmonde is Desiree's adopted mother and has taken care of her since she first came upon the infant years ago.  Both are joyed at the baby's healthy demeanor and Desiree reports that Aubigny is so happy that he has become much more positive than his usually dark demeanor.  Several months past and Aubigny's demeanor changes significantly.  It's at this point they notice that the child's hair is not normal (read: white).  Aubigny accuses Desiree of having African heritage to which she has no clue.  He is angered by this and wants nothing to do with her, so she returns to Valmonde's.  Weeks later, Aubigny has a bonfire wherein he burns all of the baby's stuff that still remained.  Included in this collection is a group of letters from Desiree and one from Aubigny's mother from many years ago to his father that acknowledged her African heritage.


I slightly anticipated the turn at the end, especially as Aubigny is descripted earlier in the book as particularly dark from his time in the sun.  Coupled with that is his treatment of his slaves as an extension of his own self-loathing.  I did wonder about some form of infidelity as that is a standard within Chopin but of course, this is it's own form of infidelity.  The audacity of Aubigny is fascinating in that knowing about his situation, did he choose Desiree specifically because of her questionable background?  Would he continue to approach love in this way?

Short Story #218 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  7/15/2014
Source:  The short story can be found at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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