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Tone in Desiree's Baby

Tone Examples in Desiree's Baby:

Désirée's Baby

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"and she did not come back again..."   (Désirée's Baby)

While not overtly stated, we can infer from the ominous language that Désirée chooses to kill herself and her child. Notice that the bayou is described as “deep” and “sluggish,” and that Chopin ends the same sentence by stating that “she did not come back again.” This might indicate a kind of cause and effect: the bayou is deep, therefore, she does not return.

"pall..."   (Désirée's Baby)

A “pall” is a cloth that is spread over a coffin or hearse. Chopin chooses imagery that reveals the dark nature of the L’Abri plantation. The “sad,” “wide,” “black,” appearance of the house, and the description of the “solemn oaks” creates an ominous tone. Madame Valmondé’s shivering suggests that the L’Abri plantation is dark, cold, and eerie place. Further, the appearance of the plantation mirrors Armand’s own characteristics just as Désirée’s outward appearance mirrors her internal character.

"in the shadow of the big stone pillar...."   (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 Désirée’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 Valmondés, creating a tone of secrecy and mystery. As the pillar stands at the gates of the Valmondé estate, it also symbolizes the family’s wealth and Désirée’s privileged upbringing.

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