|Genre||Short Story (13 pp.)|
|Keywords||Childbirth, Death and Dying, Doctor-Patient Relationship, Family Relationships, Grief, History of Medicine, Hospitalization, Illness and the Family, Mother-Daughter Relationship, Parenthood, Patient Experience, Suffering, Women's Health|
Mother is set in the 1930's and deals with a woman's difficult life, low self-esteem, and sense of having inherited tragedy and misfortune from her mother. Even though she finally marries, and unexpectedly conceives long after her husband and she had given up trying, her outcome is destined to be unhappy. She goes into premature labor, and gives birth to a stillborn child.
When she finally wakes up, she is weak, and cannot remember anything about the delivery. Her paternalistic physician, her husband, and the hospital staff withhold from her the news that her child has died. One night, in her frustration and need, and believing that her child is in the nursery "in the basement," she searches the basement corridors for her child. Outside the morgue she begins to hemorrhage and despite the efforts of her physician, she dies.
|Commentary||This story explores the idea that women's lives are inherited from their mothers and their destinies are not their own to control. In class, students who rewrote this story strove to create happier endings.|
|Source||Bread Loaf Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories|
|Publisher||University Press of New England|
|Editors||Robert Pack & Jay Parini|
|Place Published||Hanover, N.H.|
|Alternate Source||Vital Lines: Contemporary Fiction about Medicine|
|Alternate Publisher||St. Martin|
|Alternate Editors||Jon Mukand|
|Place Published||New York|
|Annotated by||Squier, Harriet A.|
|Date of Entry||10/27/94|