Désirée’s Baby

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The Bonfire Symbol Analysis

The Bonfire Symbol Icon
At the end of the story, Armand burns Désirée’s possessions. The bonfire symbolizes both Armand’s anger and desire to rid himself of Désirée, as well as his passion for his lost wife, which was described as “a prairie fire” at the beginning of the story. A bonfire destroys and erases. Yet this bonfire also brings to light the truth of Armand’s past, as he discovers the letter from his mother that reveals her identity as a black woman. Therefore, the bonfire not only symbolizes Armand’s desire to erase Désirée, but also acknowledges the great misjudgment that Armand has made. Before building the bonfire, Armand has already destroyed his marriage, his wife, and his child because of his prejudiced assumption. The bonfire, which is created by Armand to destroy objects, shows that Armand has also created—and is responsible for—the destruction of his family.
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The Bonfire Symbol Timeline in Désirée’s Baby

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Bonfire appears in Désirée’s Baby. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Désirée’s Baby
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism  Theme Icon
Irony, Misjudgments, and Fate Theme Icon
A few weeks later, a large bonfire is built in the backyard of L’Abri. Armand sits in the back hallway and gives... (full context)