An Analysis of Gwendolyn Brooks’ “The Mother”
“The Mother” by Gwendolyn Brooks, from her book A Street in Bronzeville, is a pro-life poem that expresses the emotions of a mother who has aborted her child or children (Kelly 44). Accepting an abortion is an extremely tough experience for a mother, and Gwendolyn Brooks aims to provide the point of view of these mothers through her poem. In the first stanza Brooks is speaking to mothers who have gone through abortions. She describes parts of a child’s life that mothers miss out on when they have an abortion (Brooks 44). In the second stanza Brooks’ begins to explain her personal experience with her abortions. The idea that the author has had multiple abortions becomes evident as “children” instead of one “child,” and “abortions” instead of simply one “abortion” are spoken of (Brooks 44, lines 11 & 1). Brooks expresses feelings of grief, confusion, guilt, and love as she speaks to her children in lines 15 to the end of the poem (Brooks 44-5).
Brooks begins her poem with the statement, “Abortions will not let you forget” (Brooks 44, line 1). This beginning line forms the model for the entire poem. She then begins to speak towards other women who have gone through abortions of their children. Brooks explains how they will never forget the children that they “killed” by stating examples of their children’s’ life that they will never get to experience. Intense emotion comes with the description of the child in the womb or “The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair” (Brooks 44, line 3). This line of the poem brings an image of the fetus to the reader’s mind. She speaks directly to the mothers by informing them that they will never get to bribe them, scare off ghosts for them, or simply take care of them (Brooks 44). This first stanza is simply explaining what the children could have been, and what kind of mothers the women could have become.
The second stanza switches to a first person...
Cited: Brooks, Gwendolyn. “The Mother.” The Seagull Reader: Poems. Ed. Joseph Kelly. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2008. 44-45. Print.
Kelly, Joseph, Ed. The Seagull Reader: Poems. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2008. Print.
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