Essay PreviewMore ↓
The Good Mother is carefully structured to make the reader identify strongly with the narrator Anna. The story begins with a close look at the intensely loving relationship between Anna and her daughter. We then learn some of Anna's family history and personal background which prepares us for the stark contrast made by her relationship with Leo. Though there are hints, as Anna relates her story, that Leo is now a part of her past, the reasons and details are withheld from the reader so that we feel as shocked as Anna by the phone call from her ex-husband, saying that he is going to fight for custody of Molly and why. The suspense during the court battle is sustained by the terse descriptions which focus on the facts of the events and the words spoken during the interviews and trial. Because of this reserve, although, like Anna, we fear that she will lose Molly, we are still stunned by the verdict and empathize with her feelings of loss, helplessness, and rage.
I think the book is very well written and moving. But I am left wondering why Miller wrote this involving book with such a bittersweet ending, one that's much more sad than sweet. Did she simply want to depress us or to give us a portrait of someone we should feel sorry for? There's not much point in that, of course, so I doubt it. Was the book intended as some sort of moral lesson? The narrator clearly relates her own behavior to her past and her family, but I don't think Anna can be read as either a total victim or as a person who is fully to blame for her own fate as a result of having always made completely informed choices; she was certainly not making informed choices as a child or adolescent. Nor do I think we are supposed to fully blame Anna's family for her behavior; Anna herself says that she "had misread all the signals" (p. 129) from her mother's overwhelming family.
Maybe Miller's intent was to make the reader ponder the reasons for a person feeling the way that Anna feels about herself. Why is she so full of guilt and shame and self-hatred? Like Ursula who asks Anna why she didn't fight harder to keep her daughter and Leo, I wonder why Anna responds the way that she does to events throughout her life.
How to Cite this Page
"A Feminist Perspective of The Good Mother." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Feb 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- A Feminist Perspective of A Sicilian Romance and The Castle of Otranto In eighteenth century novels, a common means of discussing the role of women in society is through the characterization of two good sisters. The heroine of such a novel is a pure, kind young woman who also has a streak of spunkiness. Her sister may be more good and kind, but she is more submissive and reserved. I would like to look at these sisters (and their mothers) in Ann Radcliffe’s A Sicilian Romance , and The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole.... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
2835 words (8.1 pages)
- A Feminist Perspective of Addie Bundren of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying Addie Bundren of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying has often been characterized as an unnatural, loveless, cold mother whose demands drive her family on a miserable trek to bury her body in Jefferson. For a feminist understanding of Addie, we have to move outside the traditional patriarchal definitions of "womanhood" or "motherhood" that demand selflessness from others, blame mothers for all familial dysfunction, and only lead to negative readings of Addie.... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
1624 words (4.6 pages)
- A feminist is a women with the intentions of figuring out the dynamic differences between two genders, that of male and female. They question the hard fought argumentative battle of women 's stereotypical frame of being a mother, or being a servant of the male gender. An important view by authors and psychologist that explain the dynamic point of view with women and their psychological stages of development. Women get exploited by men because of their dominance. An article written by Paul Theroux shows how women are changing their views with the development of life.... [tags: Gender, Man, Masculinity, Male]
1417 words (4 pages)
- Shakespeare’s Hamlet, shows strong prejudice against woman especially with such characters of Ophelia and Gertrude. Shakespeare created an interesting character with Gertrude; he created a character that sits in the middle of all the conflict and appears to not partake in much of it. However Gertrude does seem intent in defusing it at every possible chance she receives. Gertrude is a central figure in the play. She appears a great deal but doesn’t say much – implying mystery and creating an interesting uncertainty in the audience.... [tags: Literary Analysis, Shakespeare]
1151 words (3.3 pages)
- A Feminist Perspective of Othello Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello closes the final scene of the last act with the spiritual superiority of the heroine firmly established over that of the hero. This is one of many aspects regarding the feminine perspective on the drama, the subject of this essay. A.C. Bradley, in his book of literary criticism, Shakespearean Tragedy, describes the violence against the heroine as a “sin against the canons of art”: To some readers, again, parts of Othello appear shocking or even horrible.... [tags: Othello essays]
2580 words (7.4 pages)
- Feminist approaches and perspectives on gender The two articles by Reed (1999) troubling boys and disturbing discourses and by Ringrose (2007) gender and education. Both of these articles highlight how gender plays a role in education. For example, it shows how girls outplay boys in exams. Feminist believe that society is dominated by males as in the past women have been disadvantaged in the society and men had power. In schools girls studied subjects like cookery that helped them to become a good housewife and a mother (Trueman, 2015).... [tags: Feminism, Gender, Patriarchy, Emotion]
1014 words (2.9 pages)
- Literary Analysis Essay from Feminist Perspective When Sandra Cisneros wrote “Women of Hollering Creek” she reflected back on her own life experiences. This is a story that is told from the female perspective from start to finish. Like the lead character, Cleofilas, Cisneros is Mexican-American and the only daughter in a family that has seven children. Cisneros studied creative writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and earned her Masters of Fine Arts degree in 1978, (238). Growing up she traveled back and forth to Mexico to visit her father’s family and Cleofilas flees to arms of her father later in the story.... [tags: Sandra Cisneros]
1115 words (3.2 pages)
- Tentative Title: The Social Construct of the Good South Asian Mother Topic: South Asian mothers living in North America. Rational for Topic: I chose this topic because I felt a deeper connection because I come from a South Asian background. Also the mothers in my family are all from a South Asian background and I can see how the burden of housework and childcare is put on the women. I want gender equality within my future household. I do not want to feel the pressure to conform to this “good mother”.... [tags: Family, Gender, Feminism, North America]
1007 words (2.9 pages)
- Single Mother Parenting Current family issue is single mother parenting because it refers to a lot of women including myself that have to deal with single parenting. Single parent families, mostly women have increased in a poverty level outcome. In many instances, a single mother must take on and consist of role expectations, developmental task, and labor inequalities. Problems of single parent families are compounded by economic difficulties. By approaching this topic with the use of Feminist Perspective theory and The Family Development Perspective, I will provide points to why this is a family issue in today’s society.... [tags: Family, Mother, Developmental psychology, Father]
1090 words (3.1 pages)
- The achievement of gender equality is one of the most important movements for advancement of society. In the High Middle Ages, however, it was even more challenging to bring such sensitive debate. Christine de Pizan, a highly educated and religious woman, chose an unusual pathway for a woman in her era that she became a writer to support her family. Christine’s work, “The Treasure of the City of Ladies,” could be seen as feminist because she offered a broad view of how an ideal artisan’s wife should be.... [tags: feminist, artist, wife, soceity]
521 words (1.5 pages)
- A Clockwork Orange Essay: New Testament for American Youth?
- Essay on Appearance vs Reality in Everyday Use and The Gilded Six-Bits
- Order vs Chaos in John Steinbeck's Cannery Row
- Free Essays - Alienation in Landscape for a Good Woman
- The Hero in John Steinbeck's Cannery Row
- Essay - Bridge Between Worlds in Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse
In wondering about the pattern of responses that it seems Anna learned in her early life, I read the chapter titled "Childhood" in The Second Sex. De Beauvoir asserts that in our culture ". . .passivity. . .is the essential characteristic of the 'feminine' woman. . .that develops in her from the earliest years" (p. 280). We know that as a child, Anna identified and idolized her youngest aunt Babe, who was the least passive of Anna's female relatives. But she also saw that Babe was always an irritant to the family and was eventually destroyed by the family's dominance. So much for learning that independence and action are viable options. Anna's maternal grandmother is also a model of passivity, except for the occasion when she forces her husband to give the adult Anna the money she needs. And when Anna describes her early interest in the discussions bout "love, death, mutilation" that occurred between her mother and aunts she says that she learned later that "it didn't count. And the preoccupation with it was what kept women from doing anything of consequence in the world." (p. 35) De Beauvoir agrees that this sort of "revelation. . . irresistibly alters [the young girl's] conception of herself" (p. 286).
De Beauvoir also writes that for a young girl ". . .the less she exercises her freedom to understand, to grasp and discover the world about her, the less resources will she find within herself, the less will she dare to affirm herself as subject" (p. 280). This might fit Anna quite well. Her parents rarely explained what was happening to her. At the time, Anna didn't understand why her mother decided she shouldn't go back to the summer music camp, and she doesn't seem to have asked. She definitely did not understand what happened to her aunt Babe. Babe was the most outwardly sexual person Anna knew as a child, and Babe was severely punished for her sexuality. When Anna's family moved to Chicago and she was no longer taking piano lessons, she decided to focus on becoming popular. She was aware of her budding sexuality and decided to use it as a tool. But, of course, to use it, she had to become an object. Indeed, she became quite popular, in a sense, by allowing herself to be completely objectified by the boys who used her. Perhaps her acts of wounding herself afterwards stemmed from her internalized belief that her sexuality deserved to be punished, just as Babe's had.
There are many other points of concurrence between Miller's portrayal of Anna and de Beauvoir's description of women's childhood years: Anna's dancing in front of the mirror; her anger at her mother for teaching her to conform and never communicating fully with her; her disgust at the awareness of her parents' sexual relationship (seeing her father touch her mother under the sleeve, for example). I think one of the most important points may be the one de Beauvoir makes about the guilt and shame that young girls feel at the onset of menstruation and with the growing awareness of their bodies (pp. 306-327). She goes into great detail, with many examples of girls -- even grown women -- who try to hide their menstruation, their breasts, etc. She ends this chapter on childhood with this statement about the adolescent girl: "So she goes onward toward the future, wounded, shameful, culpable" (p. 327). While I don't always agree with de Beauvoir's assertions, I think she provides some compelling answers to the question of why Anna responds the way that she does to events throughout her life: her responses are those taught women by our culture. Perhaps Miller intended the reader to come to just such a conclusion