Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Are People in Literature

On this Mother's Day, as I contemplate all the ways in which I have been formed by my mother's love, I also think of some fascinating mothers from literature. Some ring true-to-life but are not so admirable; some are amazing. For example:
  • Gregor Samsa's ineffective and weepy mother in The Metamorphosis
  • Quentin Compson's whining, self-centered mother in The Sound and the Fury
  • Santha Rama Rau's dignified mother in "By Any Other Name"
  • that air-headed, dithering mother in Pride and Prejudice
  • mother Anna Karenina's desertion of her children
  • "esmiss Esmoore's"becoming a Hindu goddess in A Passage to India; and
  • who could forget mother Nora's door slam in A Doll House?
I'm sure many more interesting portraits belong on this list!


Anonymous said...

I know this mother is from the real world, but enough has been written about her that she is almost a character of mythical proportions.

How about Eleanor of Aquitaine? She was the wife of two kings and the mother of two more. She embodied the image of "the hand that rocks the cradle..." Her prodigy, some would say, for a time did come to rule the world.

Her tumultuous marriage to Henry II of England gave us the absentee landlord, Richard the Lionhearted, of Robin Hood fame. Then there was her other son, John, King by default, and because of his lack of land, was forced to make concessions to his restless nobles in what became the Great Charter or Magna Carta, in the official language of the day.

Eleanor of the four kings might not have approved of the changes that followed, but she was a catalyst, none the less.

Clisby said...

For some reason, the first person to leap to mind was Irene Reilly, long-suffering mother of Ignatius J. (Confederacy of Dunces).

I'm not sure what that says.

I don't have any *immediate* plans to commit my children to mental hospitals.

Anonymous said...

I love Clisby. She always offers such great comments to this blog.

Clisby said...

Awwww - thanks, Mama!