Andre's Mother

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In Andre's Mother, Terrence McNally relies on Cal to develop the title character, Andre's Mother. Through his dialogue and the sparse stage directions the reader is able to take a glimpse into Andre's and his mother's relationship, or lack thereof. Furthermore the reader is able to accompany her on her journey through the grieving process, which ultimately concludes with love and acceptance for her son. In Cal's speech to Andre's Mother at the end of the play, he tells her of a conversation that he and Andre had during her son's illness: But if you didn't know about Andre and me…if this hadn't happened, I wonder if he would have ever told you. When he was sick, if I asked him once I asked him a thousand times, tell her. She's your mother. She won't mind. But he was afraid of hurting you and of your disapproval. I don't know which was worse. (1994) These few sentences enable the reader to see what kind of person Andre's Mother was: homophobic, oblivious of her child's behaviors, and narrow-minded. As Cal compares her to the mother in the comic strip Little Lulu, he inadvertently calls her remote and formidable. Lulu's mother was so detached that nobody cared to know her name, and was simply referred to as Lulu's Mother, another way that Cal furthered the comparison. These descriptions fit her well as she knows nothing of her son's true self and struck fear in him, not allowing him to let his own mother inside the world that Cal and his family knew so well. Cal lets Andre's Mother know that her behaviors did not go unnoticed; when Andre was down he would ask him what the matter was, getting the response of "Just a little homesick, Cal, just a little bit" (1994). She instilled such angst in her own son that no matter how much he missed her, he wasn't able to face her.

Throughout the play, Andre's Mother neither says nothing nor does anything until after Cal's speech. Her silence denotes a sense of denial, the first stage of grief, of her son's...
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