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Mother Savage & Desiree's Baby-Compare and Contrast

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Mother Savage takes place in Virelogne during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The narrator retells the story behind the ruins of a thatched cottage. At thirty-three years of age, Mother Savage's son volunteered in the war (on the French side), leaving his mother alone. Mother Savage lived alone in her cottage until the Prussians came one day. Since she was known to have money, she had to take four of them. They seemed to be good boys. Since they saw Mother Savage was an elder lady, they showed consideration toward her and helped with as much as they could. She fed them and treated them well even though they were the enemy and her own son was fighting against them. One day she asked them if they know where the French regiment was, since her son was in the 23rd of the line. The Prussians said they knew nothing.

After one month of living with those four soldiers, Mother Savage received a letter. In this letter she was informed of her son Victor's death in detail. She did not shed a tear at first. She was too stunned by the news. Bloody images of her Victor's death ran through her mind. Never again would she be able to kiss her only child. Victor's life had been taken away similar to his father who was killed by the police. Shortly after reading the letter, the Prussians came home and she greeted them as if nothing had happened. In her mind, she had already planned a way to get revenge on the Prussians for her son's death. She set her own cottage on fire after the four Prussians fell asleep. When the police came, Mother Savage told them exactly what had happened. Then, she handed the German police a piece of paper with the four Prussians names and addresses so that they could contact their families about what happened. Mother Savage did not regret what she did. The German police went ahead and killed her on the spot.

In Mother Savage we can see violence throughout the story. First of all, it takes place during the Franco-Prussian War. Violence is very significant in this story, not only because of the war, but since it is used as retaliation for the death of a loved one. Mother Savage received a heart-breaking letter informing her of Victor's death:

Maddam Savage:

This letter has a sad story to tell you. Your boy Victor was killed yesterday by a cannonball, which cut him practically in two. I was right there when it happened, for we stood next to each other in line and he was always talking to me about you so that I could let you know at once if he had any bad luck.

I took his watch out of his pocket to bring to you when the war is over.


Cйsaire Rivot Private Second Class in the

Twenty-third Regiment of the Line (page 67)

This letter instigated violence in the heart of Mother Savage. Her only son had been killed by the Prussians. And there she was, living with four Prussian soldiers. The letter had been written three weeks prior. The soldiers had been living in her cottage for one month. These soldiers could have been same ones responsible for Victor's death. The sorrow in her heart was too much to bear. She had to do something in revenge. She decided to burn her cottage with the four soldiers in it while they were asleep. This act of violence gave her calmness and satisfaction.

The significance of violence in this story helps the reader to better understand the story itself. Mother Savage was not a violent person by nature. She was a lady with a good heart who patiently waited the arrival of her son after the war was over. The news of a cannonball splitting her son in half was quite devastating for Mother Savage. Her mixed feelings are almost unexplainable. Two of her loved ones, her husband and her only son, had been killed by human acts. She must have felt that this was not God's will, and she should take revenge in her own hands. Killing those Prussian soldiers would be the only act that would give her some satisfaction and ease her pain. She wished that their mothers received a similar letter informing them how their sons had died by hand of the enemy.

Dйsirйe's Baby takes place in L'Abri, Louisiana. It is the sad story of a young woman who was found sleeping in the shadow of a stone pillar when she was a toddler. Madame Valmondй became her adoptive mother since she did not have a child of her own. The girl, Dйsirйe grew to be a gentle, beautiful, affectionate, and sincere young lady. One day, she fell in love with Armand Aubigny. Armand came to live in L'Abri when he was eight years old. His father brought him from Paris after his mother died there.

Armand and Dйsirйe were married and had a baby boy. They were both very proud and happy parents. The birth of their child had changed Armand, it softened his imperious and exacting nature greatly. He even stopped punishing his slaves, after previously having very strict rules for them. However, things changed again shorted after this.

When Dйsirйe baby was about three months old, people started talking about his changed. Even Armand began avoiding contact with his wife and son. The baby had changed. Dйsirйe was accused of not being white. Dйsirйe wrote to her mother asking her to clarify all of this, but her mother simple asked her to go and live with her instead. Dйsirйe and her baby left, and Armand did nothing to stop them because he also believed that their baby had Dйsirйe's "non-white" roots. One day Armand, with the help of his slaves, was burning all of Dйsirйe's belongings because he never wanted to see her or the baby again. The last thing left to burn was a bundle of letters. Dйsirйe wrote these letters to him before they were married. Among those letters, Armand found one letter from his mother to his father many years ago. In this letter she thanks God for not allowing their son Armand to ever find out she belongs to the "slave race."

In Dйsirйe's Baby violence is seen in different manner. The violence in this story is not expressed in a physical way, the way it is shown in Mother Savage. Armand was violent toward his wife by suddenly



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