Désirée’s Baby

Madame Valmondé Character Analysis

A childless woman who adopts a baby abandoned at the gate of her husband’s plantation in Louisiana. The Valmondés raise the baby, who they name Désirée, as their own child, and Madame Valmondé considers the child’s arrival to be an act of Providence. The short story begins with Madame Valmondé’s visit to a grown and married Désirée who has recently had her first child. Madame Valmondé’s love for her daughter is boundless (in stark contrast to Armand, even after it appears that Désirée may have a mixed racial heritage.

Madame Valmondé Quotes in Désirée’s Baby

The Désirée’s Baby quotes below are all either spoken by Madame Valmondé or refer to Madame Valmondé. 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 and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Signet Classics edition of Désirée’s Baby published in 1976.
Désirée’s Baby Quotes

In time Madame Valmondé abandoned every speculation but the one that Désirée had been sent to her by a beneficent Providence to be the child of her affection, seeing that she was without child of the flesh.

Related Characters: Madame Valmondé, Désirée
Page Number: 189
Explanation and Analysis:

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When she reached L’Abri she shuddered at the first sight of it, as she always did. It was a sad looking place….The roof came down steep and black like a cowl, reaching out beyond the wide galleries that encircled the yellow stuccoed house. Big, solemn oaks grew close to it, and their thick-leaved, far-reaching branches shadowed it like a pall.

Related Characters: Madame Valmondé
Related Symbols: L’Abri
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:

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“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.

“…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.

“My mother, they tell me I am not white. Armand has told me I am not white. For God’s sake tell them it is not true. You must know it is not true. I shall die. I must die. I cannot be so unhappy, and live.”

Related Characters: Désirée (speaker), Madame Valmondé, Armand
Page Number: 193
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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Madame Valmondé Character Timeline in Désirée’s Baby

The timeline below shows where the character Madame Valmondé 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
On a beautiful day in mid-nineteenth century Louisiana, Madame Valmondé drives to the neighboring plantation to visit her adopted daughter Désirée and her daughter’s new... (full context)
Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism Theme Icon
Irony, Misjudgments, and Fate Theme Icon
...who had crossed the river near the planation that very day leave her behind? As Madame Valmondé grew attached to the child, she abandoned all concerns about the girl’s past, believing, instead,... (full context)
Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Blindness Theme Icon
The child, Désirée, grew up to be the pride and joy of the Valmondés. She became beautiful, kind, and loving. Eighteen years later, she was standing near the same... (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... (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... (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... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Blindness Theme Icon
...tells her mother that she will die because she cannot live with this much unhappiness. Madame Valmondé responds with a short letter that asks her daughter to come home to Valmondé. She... (full context)