COMM 411 Lessons Learned

By Rebekah Lentz

The Bell Jar - Novel Project

In the book, the main mother figures are Esther’s biological mother and Doctor Nolan. We only really see her mom through Esther’s eyes and Esther despises her. Esther does not want to do things a woman is supposed to do like get married and learn shorthand; she wants to travel the world, write poetry, and have adventures. Esther’s mother represents everything Esther doesn't want, but everything she is faced with having. Doctor Nolan is the kind of mother Esther always wanted. Doctor Nolan is successful, has a job that is in a mostly all men profession, and is successful based off of her own ability. Doctor Nolan encourages Esther to be independent, to focus on what she really wants, and to take chances. I learned that there seem to be two types of women – women who have kids, but are never happy and women who are successful, independent, and single or childless. Esther believes that you cannot be an independent successful woman when you are unable to pursue your career dreams or have children tying you down which shows that she sees very little value in ever becoming a mother.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape - Movie Project

I learned that Bonnie, the mother who is unable to take care of her children, will still do anything for her children when they need her. She is ashamed of the way she looks and feels bad about herself, but she doesn't hesitate to do something for her kids if they need her. Overall, mothers come in all sorts of forms, but, for the most part, they love their children and want to be there for them. I also learned that nobody can replace the true mother in somebody’s life. Gilbert tries to be the parent-type figure that Arnie needs, but at the end of the day, there is nothing that can replace the love he craves from his mother.

1993: What's Eating Gilbert Grape Trailer HQ

Motherhood on TV

I liked looking at all the different kind of mom’s on TV. For my project, I looked at present day moms and saw that a lot of them worked, but were also very successful at balancing their work and home life. I also think it’s interesting that many of them had funny and quirky husbands that sometimes became similar to having another child. I liked how the present day moms didn’t always have their pearls on or hair perfect. I liked that they were sometimes bad cooks or overwhelmed by the need to cook, clean, take care of the kids, be a chauffeur, and have a full-time, demanding job. Finally, I learned that mothers have come a long way since June Cleaver got all dolled up to vacuum and then wait around for her family to come home. These women today have busy and hectic lives, but are still fantastic mothers.

Motherhood in the News

I learned that there are a lot of stories about motherhood in the news that I had never noticed before! I didn't have any problem finding news stories, which I thought I would. It's really interesting to me that when I searched parenthood stories, many more of them were about motherhood than fatherhood. I also learned from other people's stories that many of the mothers are featured in headlines, but not in the story. It's like the authors want to receive clicks because they know people care about their mothers, but once they click on the story, the mother isn't really mentioned.

Meanwhile Back at Mama's - Music Project

I love this song by Tim McGraw! It's interesting to think about the way motherhood is portrayed in music. It seems like everybody has a soft spot for their mother and musicians are no different. His mom is associated with the good old days and what he associates happiness with. When you look at other songs, many of them are similar - people feel nostalgic about their younger days and often want a life for their children similar to the one they received from their mother. In country songs, mama's cooking is something that is spoken about a lot as is discipline by daddy which meets social norms.
Meanwhile Back At Mama's by Tim McGraw with LYRICS

Motherhood and Disney Movies

Is it sad that I never really noticed the lack of mother’s in Disney movies? I guess I never really thought about it before, but it’s very obvious now that many mother’s are never mentioned, or die early in the movies. I do remember thinking the death of Bambi’s mom was pretty tragic, but after looking back at a lot of the movies, many of the mother’s deaths are pretty tragic and traumatizing. I believe that the child is forced to grow up quickly when the mother dies and Disney is able to make the viewers learn a lesson from their hero that has been forced to grow up. As a child, I’m not sure that I fully understood when or how a death was happening, so I don’t think Disney really scared me the way we may think when we go back and watch all the deaths of so many mother’s.