The Storm vs Desiree’s Baby: Compare & Contrast
Marriages are full of challenges in society. In most marriages, couples undergo a lot of stress because of various reasons. Kate Chopin’s short story “The Storm” and “Desiree’s Baby” explores her views toward marriage life. Marriage life is affected by dishonesty and race. Couples live together but do not love each other. Kate Chopin’s short stories also describe how painful marriage life is if couples do not love each other
From the short story “The Storm”, Chopin manages to use emotion to capture readers’ feelings. She uses emotional conflict to assist the reader to feel the pain. Chopin tells the story of a woman and two men. She uses ‘the storm’ as a symbol of the relationship between a woman Calixta and two men Bobinot and Alcee. The storm arises when Calixta is at home while the husband Bobinot and son Bibi spend time at the store. At the store, Bobinot points out that the storm in the clouds would cause harm in society. The storm forms clouds which also symbolize the destructive nature because of a thunderous storm. However, while Calixta is working on the sewing machine, she cannot realize the nature of the storm. Chopin says that ‘she felt unusually warm and often stopped to mop her face on which the perspiration gathered in beads’. This symbolizes that Calixta has not noticed the storm, but notices the heat and her own perspiration, which show the destructive nature of the storm.
In the marriage life of the couple, Chopin talks about that couples may be married but lose love in the process. In the story, the problem between the couple arises when Alcee comes back into Calixta’s life during a storm. As a result, Calixta realizes that she did not love her husband Bobinot anymore. At this moment, she realized that the clouds began getting dark. The darkness of the clouds symbolizes the changes that are about to take place in the marriage life. In particular, Alcee, Calixta’s ex-boyfriend came to her house. Calixta and Alcee began to have an affair while the rain continues to fall. Alcee left Calixta when the rain stopped which showed how crucial Alcee was in the love life of Calixta. When the husband and son Bibi come home, Calixta has to pretend nothing had happened.
Chopin tells the reader that couples can cheat in marriage, but pretend nothing has happened. In most marriages, couples cheat because they lose love toward each other. Chopin also informs the reader that marriages last, not because of love and deceit, but perseverance. The storm affects the environment, and storm in the marriage also affects the family. Most couples assume and pretend that they love their spouses but continue to cheat. In particular, Chopin wants the reader to understand that love is complicated and affairs make them more complicated.
Bobi and Bobinot are not aware of the forbidden sex that took place between Calixta and Alcee. Each time Bobi appears in the story, Bobinot usually mentions Calixta, informing the reader of the stereotypical relationship between Bobinot and Calixta. Bobino has been presented by Chopin as an undependable husband who monitors his wife, always binding the wife with his will. Bobino is also bound by marriage. In particular, Bobi mentions how Calixta would be annoyed if she realized the mess that Bobi made on Bobinot’s clothes. The reader realizes how Bobi managed to buy Calixta’s favorite food in order to appease her for lateness from coming home. Chopin does not allocate much attention to Clarisse. However, Clarisse is important in revealing how Alcee and Clarisse are lonely because they have been separated by the job.
Chopin’s story ‘Desiree’s baby’ is talking about injustice and racial problems. The race is symbolized by the color of the skin. In particular, white symbolizes good and pure while black is a symbol of evil and dirty. Chopin uses Armand’s clothes to show how society feels about the color black. In the story, Chopin contrasts Armand and Desiree by using color differences. In the story, slaves are called as ‘they’, ‘he’, and ‘it’ which show how poor and humiliated their lives are. Desiree’s son is referred to as ‘the baby’. Desiree lives in a society where the color of the skin shows the purity of the blood. In society, racial purity is important than the character of a person. In particular, a drop of black blood is enough to destroy the life of an individual. Chopin wrote the story while Louisiana was affected by slavery. Desiree was adopted immediately after her adoptive family found her. Desiree’s black’ blood is enough to be humiliated in society.
In marriage life, Chopin mainly talks about the challenge of adoption. Desiree had been left alone when she was very young. In marriage life, children continue to be abandoned by irresponsible parents who do not want to be responsible. Desiree was lucky because her adopted parents love her a lot. For those abandoned babies, their life will somehow be effected manually or mentally. Abandonment of children takes place because of misfortunes in the family and other challenges. At the age of 18 years, Desiree was spotted near the same pillar where she was found abandoned by her family. At the time Desiree was found abandoned by the parents, she was discovered by a man called Armand Aubigny. Armand loved Desiree and wondered why that had not fallen in love sooner, for he knew Desiree he was 8 years old. At the time, Madame Valmonde saw Desiree and her child she was surprised that the child had appeared different from the last time she laid her eyes on it. Chopin asserts that Desiree was happy with the nurse (Sandrine) who accepted her baby and was happy with her child. Acceptance form Zandrine made Desiree show the baby off to Madame Valmonde. However, Valmonde was skeptical about the child’s ‘real fingernails’. Madame Valmonde decides to carry the child to the light shining through a nearby window. The main of carrying the child towards a shining light is to determine changes in color while the child was growing up.
After three months of growth, Desiree realized that something was not right about the child. In particular, there were numerous visitors in Desiree’s house, who came to determine the color (race) of the baby. In addition, Desiree also found a strange air about blacks on the property. Armand (Desiree’s husband) had also changed. Armand became hash to slaves, and love for Desiree was lost. Armand ensured that he separated himself from Desiree and the baby. (USE MORE AND MORE TEXTUAL EVIDENCE)
Chopin wants the reader to understand the challenges in marriage. Desiree gets married to Armand because she feels that Armand loves her a lot. Desiree and Armand give birth to a son. As the child grows, it becomes apparent that Desiree might be an African-American. As a result, Armand rejects the Desiree and the baby because Armand feels that he comes from one of the oldest family who deserves to be treated as the king of the territory. Chopin wants the reader to find out challenges in marriage and one of them could be a race. Chopin also informs the reader that race determines the marriage life a person could have. White people cannot marry black. When couples are not aware of their real skin color and decide to get married, the color of the child may cause a “storm” of the marriage. Armand decides to abandon the child because Desiree is an African American.
In the two stories, the author uses ‘symbolism’ to present themes to the reader. The storm’ has been used as a symbol of the relationship between a woman Calixta and two men Bobinot and Alcee. In Desiree’s baby, white symbolizes good and pure while black is a symbol of evil and dirty. ‘The storm’ and ‘Desiree’s baby’ are short stories which explore the problems and challenges married couple face and how they deal with it. In ‘the storm’, Calixta cheats on her husband with her ex-boyfriend Alcee but pretends nothing has happened when Bobinot and Bibi come home. Chopin informs the reader that couples could continue to live together even though they do not love each other anymore in married life. In addition, Chopin informs the reader that ‘storm’ in the family could cause harm because that love is complicated and affairs make them more complicated. In ‘Desiree’s baby’ Chopin talks about how race affects the life of married couples. In society, people are defined based on the color of their skin but not on their character. The life black people live on is humiliating and exhausting.
Chopin, Kate. “The Storm”. Short story for Analysis. Ed. Hugh Patterson. New York. Story. Echoes Press, 2013, 218 Print.
Chopin, Kate “Desiree’s baby”. Short story for Analysis. Ed. Hugh Patterson. New York. Story. Echoes Press, 2013, 218 Print.