Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mothers

I just finished Walk Two Moons. It is one of those books that I have been familiar with for a long time but never actually read.

It made me cry.

The relationships seem so real and the sense of loss and honesty at the end was hard for me to deal with as I was finishing it. My only complaint is that in the course of the novel, one mother dies, one mother runs away, and one grandmother dies. Women get a raw deal in literature. In Coraline, the "other mother" was the evil one. In most fairy tales, the mother is either evil or dead or ignoring her children. In most of the Heinlein novels I have read, mothers are not important and it is the fathers who have all the knowledge and ability to help their children.

I'm not saying that we need to see a lot more dads functioning as evil characters, but some balance would be nice. I realize the evil stepmother is a popular motif in literature, but sometimes archetypes should be tweaked over time. Think about Hamlet for goodness sake! Because mothers are so important to their children, they make fantastic villains or catalysts for true grief. However, I think our culture as a whole needs to give Dads a little more credit anyway.

If I see one more commercial where some father is looking harried because his wife is out shopping and he has to look after the kids for five hours, well, I'm going to . . . . I'm not going to do anything, obviously, but I find such trends disappointing because many of the Dads I have known or know are very involved. My brother-in-law loves my nephew very much and spends a lot of time with him. He is certainly capable of watching him without my sister present. My own Dad, especially after my parents' divorce, took us on all the time without another parent present and did a great job.

So since they are capable at the job, maybe they can be evil too now, eh?

2 comments:

Jenny said...

Yeah, I can definitely say that Josh is practically half house-husband at this point. There have been times, especially since we got into the process of moving- that I've needed a little break from baby and he's been there to take over. I mean, shoot, when he's not out-of-town (which hasn't been much since Phoenix was born), we alternate getting up with the baby in the mornings. Now that's a good Daddy! =)

Gina said...

Hey.. I'm all for having some seriously evil Dads in literature... for the sake of BALANCE of course... ;-) Mom