Desiree's Baby Essay

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In the following essay, Toth explores how Chopin used literary conventions to engage readers, then transcended those conventions to treat her subject matter in original ways.

Kate Chopin read widely, and recognized literary conventions when she saw them. In her diary entry for May 12, 1894, she writes of her neighbor Mrs. Hull's story, which involves

a girl with Negro blood who is loved by a white man. Possessing a noble character she effaces herself and he knows her no more. She dies of consumption.

The story is a theme "which Cable has used effectively," Chopin notes, and adds that for herself, "I have no objection to a commonplace theme if it be handled artistically or with originality." But Mrs. Hull, sadly, lacks "freshness, spontaneity or originality of perception. The whole tendency is in the conventional groove."

Kate Chopin expected of Mrs. Hull, then, what she expected of herself: that...

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This section contains 2,461 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Desiree's Baby Study Guide
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Desiree's Baby from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.