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Good and Bad Mothers. Amelia E. Barr Presentation by: Jasleen, Bhavraj, Kristen, Natasha, Nikita & Kainat.

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good and bad mothers

Good and Bad Mothers

Amelia E. Barr

Presentation by: Jasleen, Bhavraj, Kristen, Natasha, Nikita & Kainat

slide2
“...if the father be the head and the hands of a family, the mother is the heart. No office in the world is so honourable as hers, no priesthood so holy, no influence so sweet and strong and lasting.”
slide3

Edna not willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and so, according to Barr’s statement Edna will immediately be labelled as a bad mother.

  • Women impose most of the social constraints unto themselves.
  • Scandalous books passed around the Grand Isle which Edna disapproved of.
  • Edna’s evolution into a moral failure is plotted by her horror towards the book to her willingness to be with out her children.
  • Barr’s use of “office” makes it seem like a job.
  • Links to Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s return to his motherland and the time of need.

Kristen

slide4

Edna is an archetype of rebellion against the role of the mother-woman.

  • Edna is unwilling to sacrifice herself, “I wouldn’t give myself” not even for her children, it is easy to suggest that any affection Edna does demonstrate as a mother is therefore untrue and impure.
  • We are told there is “no priesthood as holy” and know that Edna lacks religious concern; we are told that “no office in the world is so honourable as hers” and “no influence so sweet and strong and lasting” yet we fail to see how she fulfils this “office” or has an influence in her role as a mother-woman at all.
  • Within the whole novel we see Edna fail to fulfil her roles as a mother-woman as she impersonates what I would imagine to be the traits of an anti-mother-woman.
  • Fails to capture within us the same awe she has for Adele, the impersonation of a mother-woman with whom she in constant juxtaposition.
  • She abandons her “office” within her household delineate her disregard for all conventions of society.
  • Her eventual departure from Leonce’s house symbolizes her breaking from society and its domestication.

Nikita

slide5

The readers begin to recognise that Edna is unable to handle the societal and natural structures of motherhood, she does not want to be known as the wife of Leonce Pontellier, therefore she seeks for individuality and independence.

  • Adele Ratignolle can be regarded as the epitome of the male-defined wife and mother.
  • Edna attempts to find self-definition by creating a third lifestyle option and beginning to act like a man.
  • She is desires to live a life of sexual fulfilment, while not being expected to bear or care for her children, and develop a personality and individual self through participation in the business world as seen by the role of a man.
  • Nature reminds Edna of her position as a mother by making her crave her children’s presence periodically.

Natasha

slide6

The adjectives used to describe a mother create a very wholesome figure.

  • Edna’s seemingly despondent stance on family can be linked with her attitude towards her two sons and this is only further highlighted by comparing her to other motherly figures such as Madame Ratignolle.
  • Chopin describes Edna as trying to ‘appease her friend’ and explain. Edna goes on to say, ‘I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself’.
  • Edna has her happiness at the forefront of everything.

Bhavraj

slide7

Astark contrast to the title of the novel ‘the awakening’, as the topic does not involve anything ‘holy’ or ‘lasting’.

  • The times where Edna was associated with her two sons were when Leonce criticised her lack of maternal affection towards them and when she spoke with Adele Ratignolle, the women who best represents their society’s ‘mother-women’.
  • Chopin made clear of Edna’s indifference to the conventional mother-women using hyperbolic physical contrasts between Edna who is allegedly masculine looking, and Adele who is described as gloriously elegant and feminine. The constant reminders of her lack of maternal love include Adele’s exclamation ‘think of the children!’ to Edna, who does so and commits suicide once she has her reality awakening.

Jasleen

slide8

Reading on from the first quotation Barr describes the ‘anti-mother-woman’: “selfish” “philanthropists and scholars” “moral failures, and bad mothers”.

  • The novel is about ‘the awakening’- the character in the novel who we can say has been through the journey of being awakened is Mademoiselle Reisz and she does to a certain extent fulfil the criteria of being an ‘anti-mother-woman’
  • We can take Edna to be perhaps how Reisz was when she was younger and so it can be said that if that is the route Edna takes then there is no reason to be the “sweet and strong and lasting” influence on her children. There is no room for it.
  • Amelia Barr has put forward a contrast that almost takes away the right of characters such as Edna Pontellier to be motherly.
  • It is not just that Edna does not want sacrifice anything for her children it is simply that the life Edna is pursuing doesn’t allow the characteristics of a mother woman to exist.

Kainat

summary
Summary
  • Adele Ratignolle can be regarded as the epitome of the male-defined wife and mother.
  • Chopin made clear of Edna’s indifference to the conventional mother-women using hyperbolic physical contrasts between Edna and Adele.
  • Edna’s seemingly despondent stance on family can be linked with her attitude towards her two sons.
  • Women impose most of the social constraints unto themselvesas they are the ones who will be first to judge if another woman didn’t comply for example, Adele judging Edna as selfish.
  • The life Edna is pursuing doesn’t allow the characteristics of a mother woman to exist.
  • Edna fails to fulfil her roles as a mother-woman as she impersonates the traits of an anti-mother-woman.
  • “I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself”- Edna Pontellier
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