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Adrienne Rich’s Of Woman Born – The End of Motherhood

Of Woman Born – The End of Motherhood

In Of Woman Born, Adrienne Rich effectively weaves her own story into a convincing account of what it means to become a mother within the bonds of patriarchal culture. Her conclusion that the institution of motherhood, which she distinguishes from motherhood, must be destroyed in order to release the creation and sustenance of life into the same realm of decision, struggle, surprise, imagination, and conscious intelligence, as any other difficult, but freely chosen work is substantiated by her courageous confession that contradicts culturally normative notions of motherhood.

Allowing readers to glimpse her own story as she painfully evaluates her role as mother side by side with historical accounts of other women’s experiences provides an avenue for understanding that leads to compassion. By the final chapter, instead of falling into the expected trap of revulsion toward Joanne Michulski’s heinous crime, Rich’s empathy provides the reader with the insight to realize both the complexity of Michulski’s situation and to feel comp…

Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse – Role of Wife and Mother

To the Lighthouse – Role of Wife and Mother

Woolf portrays the character of Mrs. Ramsay as a self sacrificing woman and mother as defined through her interactions with men: Charles Tansley, Mr. Carmichael, Paul, Mr. Bankes, Mr. Ramsay, and James. During Mrs. Ramsay’s lifetime she is admired by most of these men, and is continually striving to be esteemed by all of them, at any sacrifice to herself. Although there is goodness in Mrs. Ramsay, not unselfishly given, there are also rising questions of this representation of mother by Woolf, primarily put forth through the characters of Lily and Mrs. Ramsay’s daughters.

In thinking about herself as a mother, Mrs. Ramsay says that, “She often felt she was nothing but a sponge sopped full of human emotions.”(p.32) She is the person responsible for appeasing the worries of her husband and caring for the needs of her children, not to mention the stray people, mostly men, for whom she cares. In this particular paragraph, she defines what is to be a woman, wife, and mother in England at the beginning of the centu…

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