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Symbols in Desiree's Baby
Symbols Examples in Desiree's Baby:
"She was like a stone image..." See in text (Désirée's Baby)
Although this is not the stone pillar from before, Chopin associates Desiree with the imagery of stone to symbolize a transition in Desiree’s life. Armand, once completely in love with Desiree, has now turned icy and cruel after her race has been called into question.
"had fallen in love with her..." See in text (Désirée's Baby)
Notice that Desiree is standing by the same stone pillar when she meets Armand. The stone pillar thus also symbolizes the various transitions that Desiree experiences throughout her life. Under this stone pillar, Desiree was given her first home, and now that she has won the affection of Armand, Desiree will move to a new home once again. However, consider how Desiree is a passive bystander, claimed by others during both of these transitions. Her quiet and passive role in both situations emphasizes the societal position of women in society at this time.
"in the shadow of the big stone pillar...." See in text (Désirée's Baby)
In rural Louisiana, a large stone pillar would seem fairly conspicuous. So, readers should see the pillar as a distinct symbol in this short story. Consider that baby Desiree’s position in the dark shadows of the pillar symbolizes the mysterious circumstances of her birth. Her past is unknown to both the reader and the Valmondes, creating a tone of secrecy and mystery. As the pillar stands at the gates of the Valmonde estate, it also symbolizes the family’s wealth and Desiree’s privileged upbringing.