The Mother is a static character who remains unchanged throughout the story. Olsen paints an image of herself as that of a strong and caring Mother with a lot of guilt. The conflict for the Mother is the remorse for neglecting her first born child even though the neglect could not be helped. Olsen states, “I will become engulfed with all I did or did not do, with what should have been and cannot be helped” (290). Emily is a minor character in the story and is the Mother’s first born child.
The mother, whom is the narrator, is focusing on the how she treated her daughter and the way she was raised and looking how it has affected her in her teenager and adult life. The way her mother had not loved her like every other mother would love her child. Emily’s mother did not show her love, she did not show her the compassion and attention Emily needed to be like her mother. Emily may have a sense of humor but that could have easily been passed on to her in the short time that she had lived with her father’s family. With her father being absent from her life she did not grow up with a father figure, which could have had a big influence on her as well.
With this comes the revelation that she herself doubts her ability to understand her child. The reader is privy to the narrator’s thoughts, and thus are exposed to the circumstances that surrounded the problem child’s raising: a single mother, a working mother, a self admitted distracted mother, and caretakers to whom “she was no miracle”. Through the author’s use of flashback, the narrator’s guilt becomes clear. Her daughter was beautiful “to the seeing eye[,] [b]ut the seeing eyes were few or nonexistent. Including [hers]”.
The mother made difficult decisions about how to keep her daughter. She sacrificed time together to maintain employment. This was at the expense of Emily’s happiness and well being, and eventually led to an emotionless child. As an infant, “I had to leave her daytimes with the woman downstairs to whom she was no
Hope Edelman’s Struggles Through Marriage In the essay, “The Myth of Co-Parenting: How It Was Supposed to Be. How It Was.” Hope Edelman discusses the difficulties of parenting with a spouse who was seldom present. She also describes her childhood relationship with her parents and how it affects her present relationship with her husband and daughter. This situation is common amongst families today and puts strains on all members in the relationship. The author is a loving wife and parent who experiences complications in her family relationships because of her husband, John, who is spending less time with her and spending more time at work.
Both Francie and Jane each experienced a different kind of tragedy in their lives. Jane has had a rough life beginning from her childhood from being an orphan living at her evil Aunt Reed’s home to her marriage to Edward Rochester, compared to Francie who has lived with her mother Katie Nolan, father Johnny Nolan and brother Neely Nolan. Francie has a family to love and care for her while Jane has not even felt what the emotion of “Love” is from her aunt Reed. While Jane was young she had the courage to stand up to her aunt to tell her about the wrongs doings she has don’t to her. Here Jane says that “I will never call you aunt again as long as I live” she also says that her aunt has no “feelings” and “I [Jane] can do without one bit of love or kindness Pg (38).
“Fight vs. Flight” is an essay that describes a mother’s awaking to one daughter’s superficiality and to the other daughter’s deep understanding of heritage (179). “Fight vs. Flight” goes in to great detail about the relationship that is shared between Dee, her mother, and Dee’s younger sister Maggie. Fuller explains the different views and opinions of the different characters throughout the essay, mostly focusing on Dee and her mother. According to Farrell, those who read the story would tend to agree that Dee is a shallow and manipulative young lady who is overly concerned with herself and lacks the true understanding of her heritage. According to Farrell, the story is being told by her mother and suggests that Dee may not really be the bad person that everyone claims she is (179).
Although free will plays into some aspects of the lives of the characters, it is chance and especially inopportune deaths in the novel that dictate a life’s trajectory. Some may argue that the death of Mercy Goodwill and the motherless life of Daisy was a result of free will suggesting, that Mercy willingly chose not to investigate her ailments with Dr. Spears. Although this opposition offers valuable consideration, one must consider who Mercy Stone-Goodwill really was. Brought up in an orphanage from the time she was a baby, “[Mercy] grew up, cloistered as any nun” (28), she was a woman who lacked common knowledge on the issues of womanhood, conception and intimate marital relations. Secondly, Mercy was obese, “by age ten she
Society holds the assumption that a mother should be nurturing, caring and grieving the loss of her child if it dies. Folbigg is also described as “distant” (Glendinning, 2003), “narcissistic, self-centred and uninterested in her children” (Anne Manne, 2003). This portrayal of Folbigg further exemplifies how she fails to meet the expectations of motherhood and thus paints her as “bad”. However, it is interesting to note that throughout the trial “evidence given by to the court by her husband and doctors, Kathleen was an attentive mother” (Wendt, 2003). Folbigg therefore fails to measure up to the ideas of maternal care are constructed by patriarchal media (Jewkes, 2004, p. 123).
No longer is she the joyous, playful baby her mother had raised. Now, Emily cries at the sight of her, “a clogged weeping that could not be comforted” (Olsen 233). Emily’s mother eventually has to send her to live with her ex-husband’s family for about a year, so that she may focus on work. Several years after Emily returned her mother had another baby, Susan. Sick with a fever, Emily could not see her mother or new sister for a week.