Analysis of The Mother by Gwendolyn Brooks
Length: 330 words (0.9 double-spaced pages)
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For this assignment, I chose the poem "The Mother" by Gwendolyn Brooks. This poem is generally about abortion and the feelings a mother has. It's about the remembrance of the children aborted and the little things children do that the mother will miss. Many images are conveyed throughout this entire poem. When Brooks mentions "the singers and workers that never handled the air" it gives off an air of sadness. You get the feeling that Brooks is trying to convey, to the mother, a sense of longing for those little things mothers are know to be good at. This is shown in the line, "you will never wind up the sucking thumb or scuttle off ghosts that come" .Then when she starts to address the child saying, "you were born, you had a body, you died." its hard not to feel some sadness or even a feeling of injustice.
All the incidents that I mentioned in the previous paragraph are among the many vivid images in this work. Brooks obviously either had experience with abortions or she felt very strongly about the issue. The feelings of sadness, remorse, longing, and unfulfilled destinies were arranged so that even someone with no experience or opinion on this issue, really felt strong emotions when reading "The Mother" .One image that is so vivid that it stayed with me through the entire poem was within the third line. Brooks writes, " the damp small pulps with little or no hair" .
In the last half of the poem (lines 20 to 33), she changes who she is addressing. Instead of telling the mother what she is missing she is now talking to the "child" .When she does this it expresses other emotions. These new emotions are ones of sorrow, love, searching for forgiveness etc. The arrangement of the poem, going from talking to the mother to talking to the aborted child, is appropriate in my opinion. It helps the poem to flow easily and makes it simple to follow. I find most poems hard to picture in my head , but as I read "The Mother" I can imagine the whole situation happening.
In the last lines of the poem the woman attempts to reassure the child that she loved it with all her heart.
She says, "Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved , I loved you
All." Although at times morbid, this is a beautiful poem. It displays true emotions. I can imagine that this had to be a very personal yet difficult poem to write. In order to convey such raw emotions the writer has to be close to this subject in one way or another.
For someone who is pro-choice on the abortion issue, the images that surfaced in the poem gave me an enlightening view of the other side.