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"Desiree's Baby"

"Desiree's Baby"

Among the stories in the collection Bayou Folk by Kate Chopin is today's story, "Désirée's Baby," a tale of miscegenation in antebellum Louisiana, first published in 1893. 

Chopin struggled with depression after the successive losses of her husband, her business, and her mother. Chopin's obstetrician and family friend, Dr. Frederick Kolbenheyer, suggested that she start writing, believing that it could be therapeutic for her. He understood that writing could be a focus for her extraordinary energy as well as a source of income, her husband having left her and the family business heavily in debt. She never made much money from her writing, getting by on the investments she made locally in Louisiana and St. Louis from the inheritance from her mother's estate. 

Today's story, like many of Chopin's stories, has as its locus the Louisiana country surrounding New Orleans and takes a frank look at the hypocritical and unyielding prejudice existent there. She concentrated her writings on women's lives and their continual struggles to create an identity of their own within the Southern society of the late nineteenth century. 

Within a decade of her death, Chopin was widely recognized as one of the leading writers of her time.

And now, "Désirée's Baby," by Kate Chopin. We begin....