What Is An Ideal Mother?
The purpose of motherhood is more than just the act of giving birth and keeping her offspring safe from danger. It is to ensure that her child does not just live, but rather thrives. In the novel, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, the author uses an array of mother figures to portray his conception of an ideal mother. He does this by giving clear examples of characters that show both good and bad representations of motherhood. In this novel, the mothers are forced to choose between their society and frowned upon child. They are also portrayed in situations that allow them the opportunity to demonstrate unconditional love, support and sacrifice. Furthermore, their different mothering styles are shown to be directly aligned with and impacting upon the ultimate survival of their community. There are several different characterizations of mothering but the one that is considered ideal is the one that encourages her child to succeed. Therefore an ideal mother is someone who puts her child before anyone and anything else.
The mothers in the novel are challenged with the difficult decision of choosing between fitting in with society and religion, or their child, who is frowned upon by their community. One might think that a mother’s first instinct is to protect her child no matter the circumstance. However, the characters in this novel prove that this is not always true or simple. One of the mothers, Emily Storm, is greatly influenced by the unreasonable opinions and laws that govern the society she lives in. This results in her emotionally neglecting her children, making them feel unwanted, uncared for and unloved. When her son David hurts himself in the splinter incident and accidentally says that he wishes he has another hand Emily, “[makes] tchk-tchk noises of disapproval” (Wyndham 26) and shows no sign of concern or care for her injured son. This proves that she cares more about what other people think than about her own child. Emily...
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