For adopted daughter of a wealthy French family


For Honor

            “Desiree’s Baby” and “An Act of
Vengeance” are two short stories by Kate Chopin and Isabelle Allende that both
utilize similar and different techniques to contribute and deliver each stories
theme. By the author’s selection of irony and foreshadowing each story delivers
the same technique to convey different meanings. Together each stories
characters, symbols, and events demonstrate the overall theme of honor that
both woman feel obligated to.

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“Desiree’s Baby” a young woman is the adopted daughter of a wealthy French
family who falls in love with Armand, the son of another wealthy family. The
story takes place in Louisiana and racism is prominent. Armand and Desiree decide
to marry and she bears his child, their son is born with a different skin color
and Armand grows cold. As a result, Desiree flees to the Bayou with her son and
ends 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 thanking
god for her husbands love and Armand comes to terms in realizing what a blended
family is.

            In this story the author utilizes
“foreshadowing” to anticipate what is next in the story and help support it’s
meaning. The author chooses to give clues on what is coming in the story; an
example of this is “It was a sad looking place, which for many years had not
known the gentle presence of a mistress”(pg,284). This represents that by the
way Armand’s mansion is portrayed that there is a dark secret within him that
in this case is about race. An example is “He only

and 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 relationship
considering Armand’s behavior. Then, Armand discovers that the baby is not
white and is quick to blame Desiree “Look at my hand; whiter than yours Armand
she laughed hysterically” (pg,286). This is another example of how the author
sets to portray that Armand is so cold and fails to look within himself. Armand
wants to honor his family and as a result he does as he pleases sending Desiree
and the child away. The author hints throughout the story that Armand is black
and Desiree is white .By using “foreshadowing” the author is able to indicate
Armand and Desiree’s relationship thus portraying the series of events ahead
and grounds for why they occur.

            In “An Act of Vengeance” a young
girl 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 has
caused 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 killing
herself before marrying Cespedes.

this story, the author utilizes foreshadowing to convey the series of events to
the reader that will ultimately conclude the story. An example of this is when
Tacedo first meets Dulce Rosa ” During his twenty five years he had neither
time to learn poetry nor look at a woman”(pg,21). This illustrates his
emotionless state and he will then soon fall in love with Dulce Rosa because he
has not learned to love. Another example of how her plot for revenge foreshadows
what is to come in the story is “He knew that she would survive to punish his
executioner” (pg,22). Dulce Rosa would forever be haunted by her father’s death
and would want to honor him. Tadeo’s dream is an example of how their love
grows and foreshadows her future death . This example is “her reddened rags,
sunk in the compassionate embrace of unconsciousness, and he continued to see
her that way every night of his life”(pg,23). This is representation that the
two are going to fall in love and Dulce Rosa ends up revering her feelings and
she recognizes his passion for her.  An
example of how the leading events are symbolic and utilized by the author to
give hints on the ending is “she took the scissors and went to the room that
remained unoccupied”(pg,25). Taedo ends up paying for his actions loosing the
one he would only ever love.

            In “Desiree’s Baby” Chopin also
incorporates dramatic irony to strengthen the theme in the story. The irony in
this 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 and
proudest in Louisiana” (pg,284). Armand marries Desiree because she has no
name, he then plans to accuse her of being racially mixed which becomes ironic
because Armand comes to find a letter from his mother to the father “Armand
will never know that his mother who adores him, belongs to the race that is
cursed with the brand of slavery”(pg,287). This is ironic because family honor
was more important to Armand than love and would constantly blame Desiree’s
origin “that child is not white; it means that you are not white”(pg,286). The
author utilizes dramatic irony to critique slavery in the south and the
consequence is that the reader will know the truth about Armand but it is too
late for Desiree.

            Likewise, In “An Act of Vengeance”
the author utilizes dramatic irony to illustrate how Dulce Rosa avenges Taedo
Cespedes without even intending to do so. 
The irony in this story is that even though she desired revenge both
characters fall in love with each other. An example of this is “she relived the
embrace of the man whom she had cursed so many times, and remembered the early
morning when she had wrapped some tragic remains…”(pg,24). Dulce Rosa could not
be happy either way and as a result the irony becomes evident when “he found
Dulce Rosa lying in the same bloody organdy dress”(pg,25). It becomes ironic
that he envisions her in his dreams and he comes to find her again like before but
this time he truly knows what honor feels like.

            Both “Desiree’s Baby” and ” An Act
of Vengeance” are representations of women changing throughout the story by the
positive and negative of oppression. Chopin and Allende help to illustrate to
the reader the significance of honor by utilizing foreshadowing and irony. This
common theme is both evident in both short stories as both women face the
wonders of love and it turns out to be not how they anticipated. The reason for
this is to uniquely craft each story to how the author wants the readers to
perceive each theme. With that being said I believe the author is trying to
exclaim by both of these stories that yes love is powerful and many are blind
to the tragedy it can arouse. These devices allow the reader to see the
characters as victims because the authors illustrate the sacrifice of honor
that lead to tragedy.