Désirée’s Baby

Baby Character Analysis

The child of Désirée and Armand. The child’s appearance, which reveals his black heritage, is the catalyst for the conflict in this story. Armand, ashamed to have such a child, blames Désirée for the child’s appearance and Désirée, losing hope, takes the baby with her as she leaves L’Abri and heads into the bayou.

Baby Quotes in Désirée’s Baby

The Désirée’s Baby quotes below are all either spoken by Baby or refer to Baby. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet Classics edition of Désirée’s Baby published in 1976.
Désirée’s Baby Quotes

“This is not the baby!” she exclaimed, in startled tones.

Related Characters: Madame Valmondé (speaker), Désirée, Baby
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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“…he hasn’t punished one of them—not one of them—since baby is born. Even Négrillon, who pretended to have burnt his leg that he might rest from work—he only laughed, and said Négrillon was a great scamp. Oh, mamma, I’m so happy; it frightens me.”

Related Characters: Désirée (speaker), Madame Valmondé, Armand, Baby
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Marriage, and later the birth of his son had softened Armand Aubigny’s imperious and exacting nature greatly. This was what made the gentle Désirée so happy, for she loved him desperately. When he frowned she trembled, but loved him. When he smiled, she asked no greater blessing of God.

Related Characters: Désirée, Armand, Baby
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

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Then a strange, an awful change in her husband’s manner, which she dared not ask him to explain. When he spoke to her, it was with averted eyes, from which the old love-light seemed to have gone out. He absented himself from home; and when there, avoided her presence and that of her child, without excuse. And the very spirit of Satan seemed suddenly to take hold of him in his dealings with the slaves. Désirée was miserable enough to die.

Related Characters: Désirée, Armand, Baby
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

One of La Blanche’s little quadroon boys—half naked too— stood fanning the child slowly with a fan of peacock feathers. Désirée’s eyes had been fixed absently and sadly upon the baby, while she was striving to penetrate the threatening mist that she felt closing about her. She looked from her child to the boy who stood beside him, and back again; over and over. “Ah!” It was a cry that she could not help; which she was not conscious of having uttered. The blood turned like ice in her veins, and a clammy moisture gathered upon her face.

Related Characters: Désirée, Baby, La Blanche
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit

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"Armand,” she panted once more, clutching his arm, “look at our child. What does it mean? tell me.”
He coldly but gently loosened her fingers from about his arm and thrust the hand away from him. “Tell me what it means!” she cried despairingly.
“It means,” he answered lightly, “that the child is not white; it means that you are not white.”

Related Characters: Désirée (speaker), Armand (speaker), Baby
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

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“It is a lie; it is not true, I am white! Look at my hair, it is brown; and my eyes are gray, Armand, you know they are gray. And my skin is fair,” seizing his wrist. “Look at my hand; whiter than yours, Armand,” she laughed hysterically.
“As white as La Blanche’s,” he returned cruelly; and went away leaving her alone with their child.

Related Characters: Désirée (speaker), Armand (speaker), Baby, La Blanche
Page Number: 192-193
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

She disappeared among the reeds and willows that grew thick along the banks of the deep, sluggish bayou; and she did not come back again.

Related Characters: Désirée, Baby
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

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Baby Character Timeline in Désirée’s Baby

The timeline below shows where the character Baby 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
Love and Blindness Theme Icon
...drives to the neighboring plantation to visit her adopted daughter Désirée and her daughter’s new baby. She reflects that it seems but yesterday that her grown daughter was a baby herself.... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Madame Valmondé has not seen her daughter or her baby in a month. She arrives at L’Abri and shivers, as she always does, at the... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism Theme Icon
Madame Valmondé greets her daughter inside the house where Désirée and her baby are resting on a couch, dressed in muslins and lace. A nurse sits by the... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Blindness Theme Icon
Madame Valmondé picks up the baby and carries him over to the light from the window where she examines him closely.... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Blindness Theme Icon
...confides in her mother that Armand has not punished any of his slaves since the baby’s birth. She says that Négrillon, one of the slaves, pretended injury to avoid work and... (full context)
Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Blindness Theme Icon
Time passes. One day, when the baby is three months old, Désirée wakes up in the morning with the feeling that her... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Blindness Theme Icon
One afternoon, Désirée is sitting in her room watching her baby who is asleep on her bed, which appears like an extravagant throne with its satin... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism Theme Icon
Irony, Misjudgments, and Fate Theme Icon
...Désirée goes to him and grabs his arm, and asks him to look at their baby. “What does it means?” She asks. Armand responds, as he coldly removes her hand from... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Blindness Theme Icon
...her daughter to come back to the mother that loves her and to bring her baby. (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism Theme Icon
Irony, Misjudgments, and Fate Theme Icon
...not answer. He considers his silence another blow against his shameful fate. Désirée retrieves her baby from Zandrine, and, without an explanation, she takes the child and walks outside. It is... (full context)