So today should have been my latest Persephone Project post, however alas I haven’t quite finished it yet, sorry for those of you reading along with ‘Fidelity’ – I don’t want to natter about it when I haven’t finished it, I should have the post up tomorrow afternoon. Today is, well in the UK at least, Mother’s Day and this has lead me thinking about mothers in literature because actually, having given it a lot of thought on a never ending tour of the supermarket this morning, I think they tend to get a bit of a hard time.
As soon as I started thinking about mothers in literature the first thing that I thought of was wicked step-mothers, I wonder how many of you thought the same thing. This is no reflection on my own lovely mother, who bless her was in a car crash this week (she is fine, very lucky but fine) of course, nor my stepmother, who I have yet to meet and so is a mysterious character to me in many ways, ha. I do wonder if this leap to wicked stepmothers has anything to do with having seen Oz the Great and Powerful and the Wicked Witch of the West obsession of mine being back in full force.
Wicked stepmothers were my first thought though which makes sense, after all in most fairy tales aren’t the heroes and heroines generally orphans? If they aren’t then either their mother is a queen, a penniless widow who sends them off to sell a cow or can’t be bothered to take a picnic through the woods herself and so sends the kids, what sort of message is that sending us from an early age? Of course I am being a little tongue in cheek there, yet even in a lot of modern children’s fiction and YA fiction the protagonists are orphans, take Harry Potter for instance.
I had a think through the classics and her I found myself in the realm of more orphans (‘Great Expectations’, ‘The House of Mirth’ etc) in the main, or the mothers tend to fall into two other camps, they are either manipulative women who just want to get their daughters wed, become the butt of all the jokes, or both – yes Mrs Bennett I am thinking of you indeed.
So where, or who, are all the great mothers in literature? Are they all written as these odd stereotypes so we appreciate our own all the more? Who is your favourite mother figure in literature? I think mine links back to Harry Potter as I rather love Mrs Weasley, you?