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Kate Chopin wrote the story Desiree's Baby. The plot revolves around the marriage of Master Armand and his companion, Desiree. Madame Valmonde, who plays Desiree's mum, comes to see Desiree's son, who seems odd to her. Her husband, Armand, seems to be excited about the baby's birth at first, but his feelings shift when he realizes the baby is not white. As a result, he takes his wife abroad (Gale & Cengage 4). Sarah Orne Jewett, on the other hand, wrote A White Heron. It is about a young innocent girl, Sylvia, who is in love with the natural world and the animals in it. She is fond of a white heron, but one day a hunter comes to their home and says he's looking for a white heron. In the story, the hunter offers to give ten dollars to anyone who would show him the bird. Sylvia has seen the bird and knew where the bird leaves but cannot reveal it to the hunter which leads to the hunter leaving while disappointed (Gale & Cengage 4).
The two stories have some features of fairy tales. In the story, A White Heron, animals are given the characters of the human beings which is a common element in fairy tales. For instance, the cow can think on its own. "..It was good for her to hide behind the bushes. Even though she had a loud bell, she realized that it would not ring if one stood well" (Gale & Cengage 9). Towards the end of the story, the tree is also given human characters when Sylvia climbs it to find out about the heron's nest. As in fairy tales, a character is always required to make a decision. Similarly, in A White Heron story, Sylvia is supposed to make a decision on whether to protect this animal she loves or assist the hunter in hunting it. Finally, she makes a choice not to tell the hunter about the heron, this is evidenced by the tough decision she had to make to either loss the hunter or the heron which she spent time with during summer (Gale & Cengage 10).
In the story, Desiree's Baby, there are also some features of fairy tales. The story starts with attractive images and events. Here, Chopin entertains the reader with fairy tales. A woman, Madame Valmonde, who cannot have kids, is presented with a very nice child from her rich husband whom he found sleeping in the gateway. "..Beautiful and gentle, loving and sincere of all…had been sent by beneficent providence for her love..." (Gale & Cengage 2). A Cinderella-like story comes out when the same girl is spotted eighteen years later on the same gate she was picked from by wealthy man who falls in love with her without considering her origin. "What did it matter about a name when he could give her the most beautiful and oldest in Lousiana" (Gale & Cengage 2). Chopin continues with her fantasy to capture the readers' attention and writes that Desiree gets a baby and makes his husband change from a bad slave owner to a good person who treats his workers well. "Desiree has a baby and makes Armand the proudest father in the parish" (Gale & Cengage 9). In this first part of the story, there is an element of fairy tale because the writer takes the readers to Wonderland and opens their hearts to some love.
Though these stories have some features of fairy tales, they are not categorized as fairy tales. For a written work to fall under this category, it should have some important features. A fairy tale usually uses some form or variation "Once upon a time." In the Chopin's story and that of Jewett, this form is not present making them not to fall into this category. The woods were already filled with shadows one June evening…." (Gale & Cengage 1). The two stories also lack a happy ending which is a common feature of fairy tales. The writers used a bit of fairy tales element in their work for the purpose of allusion. For instance, in the Jewett's work, the allusion that she makes to fairy tales predicts the traditional happy ending when females and males would live in harmony (Gale & Cengage 17).
Women wrote the two stories, and they had some hidden messages directed towards them. Jewett's writing comes in an era when women were beginning to enjoy some independence in the society. A woman could now live an independent life (Gale & Cengage 20). Jewett focused on raising independent-minded women who were not afraid of men. She wrote in some of her works about women doctors who were not present earlier (Gale & Cengage 22).
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Gale, Cengage L. Study Guide for Kate Chopin's "Desiree’s Baby.". Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, n.d. Print.
Gale, Cengage L. Study Guide for Sarah Orne Jewett's "white Heron.". Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, n.d. Print.
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