Mother Roles in the Novels The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath

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The definition of the word “mother” according to the dictionary is “a female parent,” (“Mother,” 2011) but the way society views a mother is more. A mother isn’t simply a woman who gave birth to a child, but a woman who can raise, comfort, and care for their child. A mother’s job changes depending on what social standing they are in and what time they live in. Because of the different social classes and time periods of Daisy and Ma live in, their roles as the mother in the novels The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath greatly differ in their responsibility in their family, their treatment of their children, and their family morals, with Ma outshining Daisy as a true mother. While Daisy’s responsibility in her family is very small and separated, Ma’s responsibilities are very vital to her family. In The Great Gatsby, Daisy didn’t have any real responsibilities. Her basic role in life was to play the “happy trophy wife” for Tom. She is almost a possession of his, like a new car. A perfect example of Daisy’s role in her family is when she is first introduced, “The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up…The other girl, Daisy, made an attempt to rise – she leaned slightly forward with a conscientious expression – then she laughed,” (Fitzgerald, 2008). In this scene, Daisy and Miss Baker are laying on the couch just looking beautiful, like objects on a shelf might. Fitzgerald even demonstrates their weak femininity by showing that Daisy isn’t quite strong enough to sit up on her own. Daisy’s actions in this scene display her reliance on her husband. Her job in the family is to look pretty and to pretend not to notice Tom’s infidelity. Daisy has no respo... ... middle of paper ... ...oes not make mothers” ~ Anonymous (Quotations about mothers, 2011). Daisy seems to be more of a child than a mother, and Ma brings out the characteristics people would want in their ideal mothers. The mother they would want is the one that cares about them, is always there for them, and takes real responsibility for their job as a parent. References Fitzgerald, F. S. (2008). The great Gatsby. New York, NY: Wheeler Mother. (2011). In Merriam-Webster Dictionary online. Retrieved 13 April 2011, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mother Mother & child. (2010). Retrieved 17 April 2011, from http://kethry.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/mothering-sunday/mother-child/ Quotations about mothers. (2011). Retrieved 17 April 2011, from http://www.quotegarden.com/mothers.html Steinbeck, J. (2006). The grapes of wrath. New York, NY: Penguin Classics

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