Desiree, the central character of the story, is a foundling discovered by Monsieur Valmont on the gateway to his estate. She is later raised by him and his wife, Madame Valmonde, who sees her as gift from God, as the couple cannot have their own children. Later, Desiree falls in love with a wealthy man, Armand Aubigny, and they get married. Soon she gives birth to a baby boy, who at first brings incredible joy to her and her husband, but later becomes a cause of sorrow. As the baby grows his skin darkens and Armand accuses Desiree of not being white. Afterwards, she is sent out of the house. Her mother tells her to come live back with her at Valmonde, but Desiree does not take the road leading to her parents' house. Instead, she disappears in the bayou together with her son.
Madame Valmonde is the stepmother of Desiree. When she visits her stepdaughter and her baby, she notices that her grandson looks different than the last time she saw him. It is apparent that Desiree does not see anything wrong with the baby, so she does not tell her anything. After a couple of months, she receives a desperate letter from Desiree, asking her to assure her daughter of her whiteness, as Armand suggests otherwise. Madam Valmonde responds to Desiree with a letter asking her to come back to live with her at Valmonde.
Monsieur Valmonde finds little Desiree at the gateway to his estate and brings her home with him to his wife. Together, they raise her. When Armand falls in love with Desiree and wants to marry her, Monsieur Valmonde suggests that Desiree’s origins should be examined first, before their relationship proceeds. However, the young man is deeply in love and does not care about Desiree’s ancestors.
After his mother dies, eight-year-old Armand and his father leave Paris and move to L’Abri. At the age of eighteen, he falls in love with Desiree. They soon get married and she gives birth to a baby boy. At first, the newborn brings Armand a lot of joy and softens his hard manners, however, later he notices that as the baby grows he also appears darker. Armand feels enraged and accuses Desiree of not bring white. Afterwards, he sends her away. Weeks later, he decides to burn Desiree’s belongings and finds a bundle of letters. Most of the letters are "little scribblings" from Desiree, but he also finds one letter from his mother to his father, where he learns that his mother "belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery."
She is a slave woman that lives on Armand's plantation. There is an insinuation that one of her children is also of mixed heritage - giving support to the possibility that she has had sexual relations with Armand (or another white man).
She is the colored nurse who attends to Desiree and her child.
Desiree’s Baby Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Desiree’s Baby is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Armand's bonfire is symbolic in two ways. It symbolizes his anger at Desiree and his need to erase her from his life, and it symbolizes Armand's own destruction of his family, as he learns the truth about his own (not Desiree's) heritage.