THESIS: Through Desiree in "Desiree's Baby,” Chopin illustrates that dependence can be an important component of healthy relationships, but she also strongly warns of the dangers of being overly dependent.
Desiree’s dependence within her relationships begins even before her marriage, in her upbringing in the Valmonde household. A. Desiree first appears when “she was of the toddling age,” mysteriously abandoned at the gate of the Valmonde plantation, where she is rescued by Monsieur Valmonde (Chopin). As a toddler, probably no more than one or two years old, she is unable to care for herself, so her life and welfare depend on the goodwill of the Valmondes in taking her in and caring for her. B. As the adopted child of the Valmondes, Desiree is “the idol of Valmonde,” and her mother, Madame Valmonde, believes “Desiree had been sent to her by a beneficent Providence. . . .” (Chopin). Certainly, as a child who is worshipped in the household and viewed as a gift from God, Desiree does not have to fend for herself and is probably pampered. Not only do her wealthy, adoptive parents (as plantation owners) have the wealth to supply all that she could need and want, but the plantation almost certainly has slaves on which Desiree can rely for completing daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning. C. In this environment, Desiree grows up to be “beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere” (Chopin). Up to this point in her life, Desiree’s dependency seems to prove advantageous. She is loved and taken care of and eventually grows into an attractive young woman, both physically and emotionally. As a result, she no doubt brings joy to her parents and the whole Valmonde household. These qualities also make her an attractive match for a wealthy plantation owner such as Armand Aubigny.