Desiree is black. She is a Negro. This is what will ultimately be the greatest source of pain. The color of her skin becomes her curse. When she is discovered by Monsieur and Madame Valmonde at the gateway of Valmonde asleep in the shadow of the big stone pillar, she is welcomed into a world where skin color does not matter. She is welcomed into a world full of love.
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She is lucky to find a mother who did not care about her origin and about what the color of her skin was. Madame Valmonde looked at her as a blessing. She believed that Desiree had been sent to her by a beneficent Providence, because of the fact that she had not been able to have her own child of the flesh. Desiree grew up to be beautiful, gentle and very sincere and Valmonde truly idolized her.
Armand Aubigny, her future lover and husband saw the beauty of Desiree and was struck by her fairness. He loved her with a great love. His passion for her knew no limit. When Monsieur Valmonde pointed out her origin, Armand did not care. He was deeply in love and that was the only thing that mattered to him. For Desiree, this was a wonderful and probably the happiest time too. She was getting married to an Aubigny.
After the marriage, the wonderful times continued for a little while. Desiree was the happiest then. She had a husband who loved her, a wonderful baby, servants at her beck and call and her mother was so glad to have a grandson. Her husband was so proud of the fact that he had a child to call his own. Desiree believed that it was the fact that it was a boy, but he would never admit to that.
Desiree loved Armand, she loved him so much. She even trembled every time that he frowned. When the child was about three months, she started feeling that something was amiss. She could not quite place her finger on it; it was much hidden at the beginning. She could feel it from the looks that she got from the blacks. She could sense something was wrong, since she could not explain what all these in-laws were coming to do at their house. Her husband grew cold at her. He could not speak to her without averting his eyes. It seemed that the love was gone.
She wished for death. She wished for relief from this life. She confronted her husband once and for all, asking him what he saw when he looked at their son. He said, “It means that the child is not white; that you are not white”. With this, I believe, she could finally see that the visits from the relatives must have been to ask him to leave her since she was of a different race, of a lesser creed.
He asked to go, to leave, he no longer loved her. He looked at her and only saw an object that had brought unspeakable injury upon the name and home of the Aubignys. He no longer saw the object of all his love. She left the room they were in, hoping he would call her back, with tears in her eyes and great sorrow buried deep within her, she took her baby and walked away. She had no idea where she was going and she did not explain to anyone either.
In my opinion, the one reason that Armand no longer wanted her was because she was black. This is the reason she could no longer enjoy the love of a man who, on seeing her, had loved her so much. His relatives’ racism also contributed to the fact that she could no longer be his wife. They probably told him that the fact he had a black wife would lower the status of the family in the community at L’Abri.
It is a pity that he never gave her the chance that his father had given his mother. He only realizes too late, that he too was of mixed race, just like his wife and child. They, however, had made a choice to love and care for him. This was a decision that he was ultimately not ready to take and this cost him the opportunity to rise above the spirit of racism.
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