Mothers in Literature

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, and mother figures out there today.  I have had my share of women in my life who have served as additional mothers as I hope most of you do as well.  Literature and film are riddled with moms, most of whom inspire us to be better people.  So the question I pose today is a simple one; who is your favorite mother in literature and/or film?

My favorite literary mom would have to be Molly Weasley from Harry Potter.  Of all the moms out there, this might sound strange to some, but think about it.  She had seven children, all of whom could not be more different from one another.  They lived life on a strict budget but still managed to have family dinners and Christmas always consisted of handmade, thoughtful gifts (even if they were ugly knitted clothing items).  She suffered the near loss of one son, the loss of his twin, and even killed for her daughter.  She practically adopted Harry knowing he had no family of his own.  Bill was turned into a werewolf, Charlie handled live dragons for a living, and Percy worked for a politician who put the whole family at odds with the magical government.  If anyone knows what it is to be a good mother, it’s this woman.  Not to mention she has the best line in literature.

My favorite film mom is Christine Collins played by Angelina Jolie in Changeling, directed by Clint Eastwood.  The film was based on true events when Collins’ son Walter disappears one afternoon.  The corrupted L.A. police department of 1928 place a young boy in her custody claiming that he is her son.  When she refuses to believe them and insists the boy is not hers, she is committed to an asylum.  This heartbreaking story about a mother’s emotional and political fight for her child is so powerful and Jolie’s performance even earned her an Oscar nod.

A few honorable mentions to moms are also in order.  I think my favorite mother “moment” in film would be Sally Field’s breakdown at her daughter’s (Julia Roberts) funeral in Steel Magnolias.  No parent should ever bury their child, and Field’s performance in that scene was so believable and striking that I had to mention it today.  This is another example of the beauty of well-written mother characters.  Brave, the 2012 Oscar-winning Disney animated film, is the perfect mother-daughter movie.  It is proof that teenagers will always be rebellious but when mothers and daughters work together, they can learn so much about one another and appreciate each other more.  I know that’s what happened with my mother and I.  Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter is also a runner up for me because she was publicly ridiculed for her decisions but never once did she reject her child.  In fact, Hester learned more from her daughter than she probably taught and although it was an unorthodox relationship, it helped Hester heal and forgive herself.

What is your favorite “mom movie”?  What mothers in literature speak most to you?  I for one am grateful for my mother’s influence on me.  She encouraged me to read and write (and still does) and made me into the person I am today.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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