The plantation house that belongs to the Aubigny
family exhibits physical characteristics that symbolize the unhappiness that has occurred and will occur in the home. Madame Valmondé
notices the house’s somber appearance when she goes to visit Désirée
. The house has a Gothic feel, with shadows cast by trees and a low roof. These physical indications of darkness and concealment symbolize the acts of darkness and concealment that have taken place in the home: Madame Aubigny
has concealed the truth of her identity from her son and the world, and the wealth of the family has been built on the labor and enslavement of others. Armand
’s cruel treatment of his slaves has occurred on this estate, and he will turn this cruelty on Désirée during the story, leading to her despair and death. The house’s appearance echoes the acts of physical and emotional cruelty that it conceals.