Many conditions such as the ability to conceive, carry a child, and lifestyle, are often used as aspects that qualify what it is to be a parent. A controversial condition is a woman’s control over her body and reproductive system. The most direct control a woman can have is in the choice to experience or abort a pregnancy. While the dichotomous mentality surrounding abortion has always been at the forefront of social controversy, the “gray area” between the two extremes of pro life and pro choice is often neglected. For those that make the decision to terminate their pregnancy, stigmas and negative stereotypes are often used to label the women as irresponsible, murderous, selfish and not a mother.
In 1945, “The Mother” by Gwendolyn Brooks, challenged these conventional assumptions by forcing its audience to renegotiate the stigmas surrounding abortion and recognize the struggles that follow, while also redefining what qualifies as motherhood. The use of pronouns, thoughtful stanza organization, and an eliciting title, stylistically unite to express that abortion is not always a desirable choice for a woman but that the decision inflicts emotional turmoil that continues to trouble these women. Most importantly, it demonstrates that the choice can be a selfless endurance of pain made in the best interest of the child, an action viewed as characteristic of motherhood.
The use of pronouns evolves throughout the poem, mirroring the evolution of the poem in its contention that abortion is not always a desirable choice for a woman and that the decision comes with hardship. In the first stanza, the use of “you” demands an immediately empathetic attention, forces the audience to reconsider the idea that these women have little regard f...
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... be redefined as starting when the decisions to protect a child have to be made instead of at birth.
In conclusion, the poem “The Mother” by Gwendolyn Brooks challenges the conventional assumptions by forcing its audience to renegotiate the stigmas surrounding abortion and recognize the consequential struggles, while also redefining what qualifies as motherhood. It is expressed that abortion is not always a desirable choice for a woman but that the decision inflicts emotional turmoil that continually affect these women through stylistically choosing pronouns, stanza organization, and an eliciting title, that effectively relay the work’s intentions. Most importantly, it portrays the women who have experienced abortion as true mothers, who have in fact experienced motherhood.
Brooks, Gwendolyn. The Mother. New York: Harper & Row. 1945. 3. Print.