Sunday, May 13, 2012

4 Mothers in Literature for Mother's Day

I'm currently devouring Cutting for Stone, and the mother of the twins who I presume will become the main characters has just died. Mothers in fiction are much like Disney moms- the good ones are all dead, and the few that aren't evil are plot devices.

So in honor of Mother's Day, here's the four best, living mothers I could think of from books I've read:

  • Mrs. Murray from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle- I haven't read this book in years, but I remember thinking Mrs. Murray seemed pretty cool. Any mother who cooks dinner over a bunsen burner gets an A from me;
  • Becky Thatcher from Becky by Lenore Hart- one of my favorite books with a female protagonist because it mixes historical fiction and literary revisionism, Hart imagines the life of Tom Sawyer's one-time girlfriend;
  • Hester Prynn from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne- speaking of getting an A (puns!), I think Hester Prynne deserves a lot more credit for patience and compassion with Pearl;
  • Molly Weasley isn't quite as sainted as Harry Potter's mother, but she's pretty close. She might not always be believable (YA Fiction- eww) but I liked her.
What moms am I missing? What mothers are kind, patient, and still alive?


  1. Mrs Dashwood in Sense & Sensibility is all right, isn't she? The Dowager Duchess in the Lord Peter Wimsey novels is lovely, and a great mother-in-law too. I'm sure there are plenty more, I just can't think of them at the moment... I've just read the first of Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond books and the mother in that is lovely too - always believing in her sons even when nobody else does.

    1. Rachel, I've not read any of those books, but I'll take your word for them!

      I, too, figure there must be more good ones out there- I haven't read everything. But the books that are canonized definitely feature more mother figures than actual mothers.