For Honor “Desiree’s Baby” and “An Act ofVengeance” are two short stories by Kate Chopin and Isabelle Allende that bothutilize similar and different techniques to contribute and deliver each storiestheme.
By the author’s selection of irony and foreshadowing each story deliversthe same technique to convey different meanings. Together each storiescharacters, symbols, and events demonstrate the overall theme of honor thatboth woman feel obligated to.In”Desiree’s Baby” a young woman is the adopted daughter of a wealthy Frenchfamily who falls in love with Armand, the son of another wealthy family. Thestory takes place in Louisiana and racism is prominent. Armand and Desiree decideto marry and she bears his child, their son is born with a different skin colorand Armand grows cold. As a result, Desiree flees to the Bayou with her son andends up committing suicide by drowning.
Weeks later, Armand discovers a few in which;his mother reveals that she is black. His mother ends the letter, by thankinggod for her husbands love and Armand comes to terms in realizing what a blendedfamily is. In this story the author utilizes”foreshadowing” to anticipate what is next in the story and help support it’smeaning. The author chooses to give clues on what is coming in the story; anexample of this is “It was a sad looking place, which for many years had notknown the gentle presence of a mistress”(pg,284). This represents that by theway Armand’s mansion is portrayed that there is a dark secret within him thatin this case is about race.
An example is “He onlylaughedand said Negrillion was a great scamp. Oh mama, I’m so happy it frightens me” (pg,285). This is a clue that things are going too well in the relationshipconsidering Armand’s behavior. Then, Armand discovers that the baby is notwhite and is quick to blame Desiree “Look at my hand; whiter than yours Armandshe laughed hysterically” (pg,286). This is another example of how the authorsets to portray that Armand is so cold and fails to look within himself.
Armandwants to honor his family and as a result he does as he pleases sending Desireeand the child away. The author hints throughout the story that Armand is blackand Desiree is white .By using “foreshadowing” the author is able to indicateArmand and Desiree’s relationship thus portraying the series of events aheadand grounds for why they occur.
In “An Act of Vengeance” a younggirl is murdered and then raped by her fathers killer named “Tacedo Cespedes”.She then seeks out to plot against him for all the pain and suffering he hascaused but, she consequently ends up falling in love. In the end of the story,she ends up being consumed by guilt and honors her dead father by killingherself before marrying Cespedes.Inthis story, the author utilizes foreshadowing to convey the series of events tothe reader that will ultimately conclude the story. An example of this is whenTacedo first meets Dulce Rosa ” During his twenty five years he had neithertime to learn poetry nor look at a woman”(pg,21).
This illustrates hisemotionless state and he will then soon fall in love with Dulce Rosa because hehas not learned to love. Another example of how her plot for revenge foreshadowswhat is to come in the story is “He knew that she would survive to punish hisexecutioner” (pg,22). Dulce Rosa would forever be haunted by her father’s deathand would want to honor him. Tadeo’s dream is an example of how their lovegrows and foreshadows her future death . This example is “her reddened rags,sunk in the compassionate embrace of unconsciousness, and he continued to seeher that way every night of his life”(pg,23). This is representation that thetwo are going to fall in love and Dulce Rosa ends up revering her feelings andshe recognizes his passion for her.
Anexample of how the leading events are symbolic and utilized by the author togive hints on the ending is “she took the scissors and went to the room thatremained unoccupied”(pg,25). Taedo ends up paying for his actions loosing theone he would only ever love. In “Desiree’s Baby” Chopin alsoincorporates dramatic irony to strengthen the theme in the story. The irony inthis story is that Armand willingly chooses to not discover Desiree’s family origin” What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest andproudest in Louisiana” (pg,284). Armand marries Desiree because she has noname, he then plans to accuse her of being racially mixed which becomes ironicbecause Armand comes to find a letter from his mother to the father “Armandwill never know that his mother who adores him, belongs to the race that iscursed with the brand of slavery”(pg,287).
This is ironic because family honorwas more important to Armand than love and would constantly blame Desiree’sorigin “that child is not white; it means that you are not white”(pg,286). Theauthor utilizes dramatic irony to critique slavery in the south and theconsequence is that the reader will know the truth about Armand but it is toolate for Desiree. Likewise, In “An Act of Vengeance”the author utilizes dramatic irony to illustrate how Dulce Rosa avenges TaedoCespedes without even intending to do so. The irony in this story is that even though she desired revenge bothcharacters fall in love with each other. An example of this is “she relived theembrace of the man whom she had cursed so many times, and remembered the earlymorning when she had wrapped some tragic remains…”(pg,24).
Dulce Rosa could notbe happy either way and as a result the irony becomes evident when “he foundDulce Rosa lying in the same bloody organdy dress”(pg,25). It becomes ironicthat he envisions her in his dreams and he comes to find her again like before butthis time he truly knows what honor feels like. Both “Desiree’s Baby” and ” An Actof Vengeance” are representations of women changing throughout the story by thepositive and negative of oppression. Chopin and Allende help to illustrate tothe reader the significance of honor by utilizing foreshadowing and irony. Thiscommon theme is both evident in both short stories as both women face thewonders of love and it turns out to be not how they anticipated. The reason forthis is to uniquely craft each story to how the author wants the readers toperceive each theme.
With that being said I believe the author is trying toexclaim by both of these stories that yes love is powerful and many are blindto the tragedy it can arouse. These devices allow the reader to see thecharacters as victims because the authors illustrate the sacrifice of honorthat lead to tragedy.