Gwendolyn Brooks Essay "The Mother"

1683 WordsApr 15, 20157 Pages
Abortion in Brooks Time Gwendolyn Brooks, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and poet, wrote often of the human struggle in America. Alexander said it best when she states in her book “Gwen also had the remarkable ability to translate into her own words the issues of concern to others” (Alexander 125). She wrote many noteworthy pieces in her lifetime. One of the most emotionally gripping and tormented works was “The Mother” which she wrote in 1945. Brooks made a strong political statement about abortion in this poem that could easily be interpreted as pro-life. Though her subject goes back and forth between both good and bad feelings about her aborted children and what could have been, the overall tone of this writing is dark, guilt-ridden and depressing. This poem thought-provokingly addresses a prominent issue for many women at this juncture in the history of America that remains a prominent issue for women even today. “The Mother” was written in 1945, shortly after the Great Depression had ended. Due to the extensive financial hardship that came with that time, many women chose to have abortions for fear that they could not afford to properly care for a new baby. This statement really embodies why poverty affected the choice to have abortions or not “While this poem has been criticized for its ambivalence toward the subject of abortion, some commentators argue that women who have had abortions know that Brooks' sympathies lie with the mother and the difficult choices she has had to make because she knows she could not have properly provided for the children” (Schroeder). Erben makes a statement about poverty “Brook’s “the mother” implicitly explores the impact of abject poverty on the life of a female character” (Erben Web). Many already had large families, and adding to the number of mouths to feed could have been overwhelming. The poverty levels in the

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