‘La Belle Zoraide’ by Kate Chopin

Chopin, Kate 1894a

La Belle Zoraide by Kate Chopin, 1894

The magic trick:

Highlighting the painful, racist irony by using a framing device

In this story, a black servant tells her white employer the story of a black servant who suffers pretty brutal emotional abuse at the hands of her white employer. The white employer hearing the story is aghast, while completely failing to recognize the irony. Point taken. And that’s quite a trick on Chopin’s part.

The selection:

“La belle Zoraide’s sorrows had now begun in earnest. Not only sorrows but sufferings, and with the anguish of maternity came the shadow of death. But there is no agony that a mother will not forget when she holds her first-born to her heart, and presses her lips upon the baby flesh that is her own, yet far more precious than her own.”

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