Désirée’s Baby


Kate Chopin

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Fine clothes Symbol Analysis

Fine clothes Symbol Icon
Armand orders fine clothes and ladies’ accessories for Désirée from Paris when he wishes to marry her. These fine objects symbolize Armand’s wealth and influence, as well as the material transaction that is taking place through the marriage. Armand conceives of Désirée as one of his many beautiful possessions. He showers her with gifts, but quickly falls out of love with her when his faith in her is tested. At the end of the short story, Armand directs the burning of the fine clothes and gifts he has bestowed on Désirée. For Armand, these objects are symbolic of Désirée, and he uses the bonfire to remove his memories of her along with her possessions. The destruction of the fine clothes demonstrates Armand’s position of wealth that allows for such an extravagance.

Fine clothes Quotes in Désirée’s Baby

The Désirée’s Baby quotes below all refer to the symbol of Fine clothes. 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

In the center of the smoothly swept back yard was a great bonfire. Armand Aubigny sat in the wide hallway that commanded a view of the spectacle; and it was he who dealt out to a half dozen negroes the material which kept this fire ablaze. A graceful cradle of willow, with all its dainty furbishings, was laid upon the pyre, which had already been fed with the richness of a priceless layette. Then there were silk gowns, and velvet and satin ones added to these; laces, too, and embroideries; bonnets and gloves; for the corbeille had been of rare quality.

Related Characters: Armand
Related Symbols: Fine clothes, The Bonfire
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:
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Fine clothes Symbol Timeline in Désirée’s Baby

The timeline below shows where the symbol Fine clothes appears in Désirée’s Baby. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Désirée’s Baby
Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Blindness Theme Icon
...for he could give her his name—one of the most respectable in Louisiana. He ordered fine clothes and gifts for her from Paris and the two were married. (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Intersection of Classism, Sexism, and Racism Theme Icon
Irony, Misjudgments, and Fate Theme Icon
...and feed the bonfire. Armand directs a baby’s cradle be added to the fire, and fine clothes ; gowns of silk, velvet, and satin; laces; embroideries; bonnets and gloves follow this. These... (full context)