Man’s Domination Over Woman in Desiree’s Baby
Differences between people create conflicts between people. This is especially true between men and women, since throughout history society has viewed women as subservient to men. Kate Chopin’s feminist short story, Desiree’s Baby, illustrates man’s domination over woman. Since Desiree meekly accepts being ruled by Armand, and Armand regards Desiree as his possession, the master/slave relationship that exists between Armand and Desiree is undeniable.
Armand believes that since he possesses a superior social position than does Desiree, he is at liberty to be master over her. As a plantation owner and a descendant of the Aubigny family which bears "one of the oldest and proudest [names] in Louisiana" (316), Armand owns tens and hundreds of slaves. In contrast Desiree is adopted into a family without a respected name. Since, "Young Aubigny's rule was a strict one”, he not only treats the slaves as if they were animals, but also treats Desiree as but a beautiful possession. Although Desiree truly loves Armand, the relationship is not reciprocal, which is evident by the fact that Armand has affairs with other women. Desiree’s love for Armand elevates him in the relationship, while Armand’s domination over Desiree only makes her more submissive.
Armand’s ego exhibits his qualities as a master. His respected name, large plantation, and position as a master over slaves inflate his pride. The fact that, “Armand is the proudest father in the parish… because it is a boy, to bear his name” (317), illustrates that Armand does not truly love his family; instead he sees them as possessions – extensions of his property. To Armand the baby serves the purpose of honoring him by continuing his respected bloodline. Armand says that he would’ve loved a girl as well, but Desiree “know[s] that he says that to please [her]” (317). Desiree is therefore not oblivious to Armand’s’ thoughts, so she must know that she is subservient to Armand. The fact that Desiree and Armand are both aware of Desiree’s subservience strengthens the master/slave relationship.
Yet it is not until Armand believes that Desiree is black that he fully dominates her simply by thinking that he is superior. At this point, “when he spoke to her, it was with averted eyes, from...