Sacrifice: Family and Mother

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In the poem, “Momma”, Chrystal Meeker describes the essence of motherhood. The poem is about how much a mother will sacrifice for her children.
The narrator first describes the relationship between her sister and mother. She says, “Constant defiance in the spirit of personal conviction cleft* a schism* between my mother and sister/ they clawed their womanhoods out of each other by handfuls of hair and heart.”(1-5).These lines explain the strong personalities her mother and sister have, further, that they do not always get along. She goes on to illustrate the family’s living conditions. “Momma stood vacant-eyed and hollow-cheeked by hot suds/ waiting for the end of some inaudible incantation* of Homer*” (9-10). They are poor. Line 20, “The fugitive football on the cracking counter”, insinuates that the home is need of some improvements.

The mother waits until the children are outside playing, before she “began to lick the crumbs from my sister's plate” (19). She is shielding the children from the financial and emotional worries that stem from her not having enough food to feed them as well as her. In line 30, the mother is “sorry that Kayla was witness to so heavy an act”. She is remorseful that her daughter is seeing her in this vulnerable state. She knows that telling her daughter about the state of the household is going to forever change their relationship, but in lines 31-33 the author states that “momma quietly admitted that she hadn't had anything for five days/ but what was left over from her kids' plates”. This is a pivotal point because now the mother has to be strong enough to possibly accept pity from her daughter.

“My sister sucked the marrow from the bones of guilt when she realized that she had cleaned her plate for a week” (35-36). Now the daughter feels guilty but she also understands how much her mother has given up. She has no idea how many times her mother has sacrificed for her and her sister, but she does know how many...
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