A Natural Mother

Satisfactory Essays
A Natural Mother

”A Natural Mother” was written by Dorothy Channing in 2006. The story is about Dorothy, her husband and his mother. Her husband’s mother, Lily, was a famous painter, but who often lost her son, Ewan, and for that he resented her. But Dorothy idealized Lily, and loved her way of living wishing it could be her own.

The story starts in medias res, and the first sentence shows the relationship between Dorothy, Ewan and Lily well. Dorothy is jealous of Ewan’s childhood; she wishes her parents had taken her all over the world to have exciting experiences, instead of her quite ordinary upbringing. But Ewan doesn’t see it as a great childhood, he remembers all of the time she lost him, and all of the time she had disappointed him. And throughout the story you see how Dorothy romanticizes everything about Lily, while Ewan is rational, for example: “He’d been bemused by her, besotted with her, and had finally died – I say from unrequited love but Ewan says from pancreatitis.” (p.33, l.12) It shows their entirely different views of Lily. And it is a conflict in their relationship, once Ewan said that Dorothy only married him for his mother, but he said it only half joking. He clearly resents his mother for his childhood; he doesn’t even believe she loves him. While Dorothy never can understand Ewan and thinks that everything Lily does is brilliant, both in art and in lifestyle.
Once she got children of her own, Dorothy got even more envious of Lily’s way of living. She hated the domesticated life, standing by the usual gender roles of that the mother stays home and takes care of her children while the man is out working. Which is how their household functions, and she didn’t feel that Ewan could understand that because he...

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...seen Lily for who she had been, only for who she wanted her to be and seen every story from the positive side. “To idolize anyone is the worst thing one can do, because then they are lost to us.” (p.40 l. 32). Until the moment where her child was missing she idealized Lily, and therefore Lily was lost until then. After that Dorothy could get perspective on it all.
Some of the themes are childhood, there is told about two entirely different childhoods, and each one was envious of the other’s childhood. For Dorothy she didn’t appreciate her childhood until she really started to understand parenthood, which is one of the themes as well. In the start of Dorothy’s motherhood she felt very caged by the gender roles of society, which also is a theme. It wasn’t said directly that after she had stop idealizing, another theme, that she had been more appreciative of motherhood.
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