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Friday, May 07, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend

Three generations of women in my family, all enthusiastic bookworm chicks.

Greetings, readers. This weekend, for some incomprehensible reason, I'm reflecting on mom characters in literature. Mother figures tend to be pretty reviled or absent in literature, but is there any literary mama more beloved than Marmee, who gave life and love to Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth? Mrs. Morland, Catherine's mom in Northanger Abbey, is another exception. Lily Potter gave up her own life for baby Harry's, (kind of like Jesus and Mary in reverse.)

But it's hard to think of too many sainted moms. The mind immediately wanders to the far more plentiful monstrous mommies who devour their young--and their close literary kin, a veritable parade of Wicked Stepmothers. We've got Mrs. Bennet, Paul's smothering mother in Sons and Lovers, and Mrs. Clenham in Little Dorrit, a perfect example of the latter. There's also the immortal Sethe in Beloved who straddles the line between good and bad mother so memorably.

Who are your favorite mother characters, good or bad, in literature? HuffPo has a slideshow of twelve of the worst, and they are baddies indeed.

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