Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Emile Zola's Therese Raquin: Qualities of Maternal Instinct

Topics: Bertolt Brecht, Thérèse Raquin, Helene Weigel Pages: 4 (1310 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Emile Zola's Therese Raquin are both works with characters that possess maternal instinct. There is not a definite explanation for maternal instinct because it can be viewed differently. Although this is true, there is often a stereotype woman with the ‘right' qualities of maternal instinct. This often articulates unrealistic images in people's minds. Instinct means "an imposed set of values, imposed by the society" and the way they think a mother should naturally act by. Realistically, the instinct depends on the mother's disposition, the way she wants to behave depends on her emotions, which cannot be articulated. Therefore, it is not possible to impose a definite set of values for how a mother should act for it varies from one mother to another.

Mother Courage is a mother who fights for a living so that her three children can survive the war. War to her is a necessity because she needs the business from the soldiers in order to survive, but on the other hand, war is her ultimate enemy. She is doing everything to keep her and her children from being involved with the war. It was her husband's death that lead to her natural defenses for her children and the war which in turn resulted in expressing her strong maternal instinct.

Also, Mother Courage is forced to make decisions and puts a lot of effort into trying to stay with her children. For example, when the Cook proposes to Mother Courage, Kattrin realizes that the Cook thinks she is a burden and does not like her. Therefore, she decides to leave, but Mother Courage chooses to leave the Cook and follow Kattrin instead. Here, Mother Courage has sacrificed her potential welfare in order to ‘protect' her only child left.

"[Mother Courage] We'll go off in t'other direction, and we'll throw cook's stuff out so he finds it, silly man."

But just by looking at this protection towards her children, one cannot readily

Assume that she is a ‘good...
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