Representations of Motherhood
My Sister's Keeper
Love > Law
Normalcy for the Fitzgerald’s family is fragile in Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. More specifically, Sara Fitzgerald deprives each of her three children Jesse, Kate, and Anna from living a conventional childhood due to the obstacle within their family dynamic. At just two years of age, Brian and Sara Fitzgeralds’ daughter, Kate, is diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. Sara, however, refuses to let Kate die; early on, the reader learns that Sara’s life is centered on Kate. In fact, Anna is genetically created to benefit her sister. Sara expunges all options that do not align with her primal impulse to protect her daughter, notwithstanding the low survival rate associated with the illness. Although Kate’s prognosis is poor, Sara is tenacious and strong in her effort to provide Kate with a full life. She embodies the notion that love has no limits as she endlessly strives to keep Kate alive.
Sara worries and aims her attention on Kate. Her act of expending all of her energy on Kate impedes her ability to take care of her two other children. Anna and Jesse demonstrate the neglect that they experience as a result of their mother’s sole focus on Kate. Moreover, Sara does not deny the way she views Anna’s purpose. She admits that she spends more time thinking about the benefits Anna can bring to support Kate’s health rather than Anna’s own individuality. Anna’s identity stems from her role as a donor for her sister. Sara does not understand how this lack of attention towards Anna is negative. Instead, she argues that she represents both of her daughters anytime someone affirms Anna’s desired freedom from her lifesaving expectations.
As a mother, Sara is depicted at times as nurturing and comforting, while at other times she could be described as intense and angry. A lot of her frustration and aggression is rooted in her inability to control Kate’s cancer. This explains why Mrs. Fitzgerald slaps Anna when the news of Anna’s medical emancipation lawsuit is revealed.
During the time of the trial, Julia is illustrated as a motherly figure. Julia serves as Anna’s guardian ad litem in order to decide what is truly best for Anna. She views Anna as a separate person, without necessarily taking Kate’s health into account. Julia’s unbiased perspective contrasts Sara, who often dismisses concerns about Anna in the situations where Kate’s needs are put first.
Overall, there is ambiguity between the distinct dichotomy of right and wrong involving Sara’s role as a mother. There is discussion that it is wrong that Sara defines how good of a mother she is based on her ability to keep Kate healthy, but it is difficult to blame Sara for interfering with the quality of Anna’s life when it means maintaining the sanctity of Kate’s. Picoult includes, “‘When you love someone, you’ll do anything to keep them with you’” (369). Anna is put at risk because she is the only person who exists with the ability to save Kate. Sara notes that while this may not be just or fair, it is what is right based on her role as a mother, because “[...] love is far more important than law” (Picoult 409).
Films- Analysis of The Incredibles
The Ultimate Supermom
Envisioning Mrs. Incredible, or Elastigirl, with a “World’s Best Mom” coffee mug may seem to be a bit of a stretch at first. She is often shown in situations where she struggles to keep her cool, proving that even superheroes cannot possibly be perfect mothers. Ultimately, she extends the notion that being super is not necessarily defined through special powers. Rather, she illustrates the idea that when it comes to being a good mother, it is important to remain flexible.
Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles was made in 2004 where characters Bob and Helen Parr (Mr. and Mrs. Incredible) have three children: Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack. Through the characters’ roles in Metroville and Normanisan Island, the Parr family depicts a super interesting dynamic where Helen establishes a sense of purpose and fulfillment through childrearing.
In the beginning of the film, she is portrayed as quite the feminist when she articulates the significance of overcoming the boundaries that exist in a man’s world. She adds, “Girls, c’mon. Leave saving the world to the men? I don’t think so.” (2004). This heavily contrasts her more traditional approach as a wife and mother once she is forced to hang up the superhero suit, because later on, the audience learns that her new secret identity involves being a housewife. She works tirelessly to adjust her family to what is deemed “normal,” and initially disapproves of Bob’s behavior of “uprooting [their] family again so that [he] can relive the glory days” (2004). As the family’s stronghold, she is viewed as the intense and authoritarian figure in the family.
Mrs. Incredible is driven, consistent, and resourceful. She will do everything in her power to keep her family safe. In fact, when she rescues her son Jack-Jack, she states, “Mommy’s got you. Everything’s alright” (2004). She is selfless, supportive and passionate as evident through the way she unconditionally loves and cares for her children, making her the ultimate supermom.
Films and Socialization Effects
Mother as Nurturer
The Feminine Mystique
Television gives us the opportunity to take a peak into another person's world and experiences. There is a gamut of personalities and types of mothers in television. There's the incompetent mother, the helicopter mom, the "cool" mom, the mom that also serves as your best friend, the strict mom and the relatable and quirky mom. I think it is important to remember that mothers come from all walks of life. No one mother is the same as another, and I think that is really neat. So whether the show makes you laugh or want to cry, it is fascinating to recognize and consider the way the maternal figure is being displayed. This class has not only given me a greater appreciation of my own mother, but it has introduced me to all sorts of family dynamics. I am amazed by the perspectives and the information that was presented to me in this course. For someone that wants to work with adoptions some day, I can confidently say that I have learned what it means to be a mother. I have gained a better understanding of what aspects attached to motherhood need more attention. Most importantly, I was able to evaluate the mother I hope to some day be. I definitely have big shoes to fill.
Music is a beautiful medium. It is amazing when you think about just how often one listens to it too. This music video project was so fun to compile. I wish I had the opportunity to compile more photos, but at the time my mom was in the process of moving. This song by Carrie Underwood is so sweet. It is referring to her wedding day and reassuring her mother that she is in good hands as she is about to get married. While I myself am not married, I found this song really relatable. Many teenagers express how they cannot wait to move away or go to college. Many individuals my age constantly fear that they are not going to find a husband. Many persons my age focus so much attention on their significant other. While being in love is a joyous and wonderful thing, a bond between a mother and daughter is really unique and special. Going through these photos and listening to the lyrics, it did not take long for me to get emotional. Every dance I was getting dolled up for, my mom was the one there to help me get ready. Mom was the one on the couch waiting up to hear all about my first date. Mom was the one who instilled in my own heart that "Love is patient; love is kind." Mom is the one I can see in the rearview mirror each time I head back to school. It is a great feeling to love someone, but it's an even greater feeling to be unconditionally loved by a mother. No matter who else enters my life or how much things change, I will always remember the woman that shaped me into the person I am-- the woman that taught me what love looks like.
A Letter to My Mother
You are the best person I know. You are my favorite teacher, cheerleader, role model, and friend. You remind me that His mercies are new each day and that every morning is an opportunity to seek brighter sides. You encourage me to follow what He's called me to do, and you support me in every path that leads me there. You are strong and selfless. You had to do it all alone- make a living and make a home. Through all of that, you never loved us any less. You are intelligent, sophisticated and enriching to those that you surround. You are silly and fun with a type of spirit and passion that is one of a kind. You have an openness that invites others in and warmth that brings much joy. You make a difference in the lives of others and make the best of what life offers. This world needs more of your voice, your heart, and the belief in what can be. Your faith is inspiring, your thoughts are compelling, and your compassion towards others is truly indescribable. Covered in grace and filled with wisdom, I am so grateful that I have a lifetime to learn from you and become more like you, because you are the best person I know. You're "mama" to many, but you make each of us feel like we are all you've got. You make anyone and everyone feel at home, worth knowing, valued and adored. Thankful that you taught me everything I know about creating, loving, and following Jesus. Thankful you'll drive three hours and pretend it is not out of the way. Thankful I get to call you "Mom." I love you!
xoxo Claire Bear