West Virginia University Philological Papers

Articles from Vol. 51, Fall

A Perfect Murder: Mother/daughter Relations in Pavlova's A Double Life
Karolina Pavlova's A Double Life (1848) presents the story of Cecilia von Lindenborn, a heroine whose fate is particularly representative of a young aristocratic woman in early nineteenth-century Russia. Her novel provides a harsh criticism of nineteenth-century...
Cultural Displacement and the Mother-Daughter Relationship in Kazuo Ishiguro's A Pale View of Hills
When Kazuo Ishiguro's most recent novel Never Let Me Go was published in 2005, the work received immediate attention and accolades. In the twenty years since the publication in 1982 of his first novel A Pale View of Hills, followed by five novels (An...
From Stella Dallas to Lila Lipscomb: Reading Real Motherhood through Reel Motherhood *
This essay traces a history of motherhood in American narrative cinema, but I want to start with an image that falls outside those parameters, since it is documentary. Michael Moore's latest film, Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) introduces us to forty-nine-year-old...
Hoarding Motherhood in Silas Marner
Human beliefs, like all other natural growths elude the barriers of system. George Eliot The doctrine of separate spheres has long served a double function: as historical master narrative and as a set of ideas that has proven especially useful to...
Imagination and Procreation: Schnitzler's "Andreas Thameyers Letzter Brief"
Metaphors of birth and procreation are familiar occurrences in poetic and philosophical discourses. From the origin of an artwork to the birth of a genre, generative metaphors have coded instances of artistic and intellectual labor so often that one...
Motherhood, Fertility, and Creativity in Mankiewitz's All about Eve
The 1950 screen classic All About Eve, written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewitz, constructs mother-daughter relationships to analyze fertility, creativity, and the reproduction of art. Set against the backdrop of the theater, Mankiewitz's film...
Motherhood, Melodrama, and Masculinity in Wolfgang Becker's Good Bye Lenin!
In February of 2003, over twelve years after the collapse of the German Democratic Republic and its ensuing absorption into the Federal Republic of Germany, Wolfgang Becker's film Goodbye Lenin, which narrates the ascension to manhood of Alexander...
Red Mothers and White Milk: Maternal Lactation and American Indians in Post-Revolutionary France
Between 1793-1800, the seven-year period in which the influential French author Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand wrote his immensely popular New World romance Atala, Napoleon rose to power within France. These were the years of the Haitian Revolution,...
The Archetypal Mother: The Black Madonna in Sue Monk Kidd's the Secret Life of Bees
In her 2002 novel, The Secret Life of Bees, former Guidepost magazine contributor Sue Monk Kidd departs from Baptist conservatism to produce a fourteen-year-old heroine, Lily, who finds solace and spirituality in a black woman's face Set in 1960s South...
The Loss of Roses: Mother-Daughter Myth and Relationships between Women in Mrs. Dalloway
"The loss of the daughter to the mother, the mother to the daughter, is the essential female tragedy," writes Adrienne Rich in Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution (237) She laments that our society no longer recognizes the "mother-daughter...
The Motherhood of the Mother Superior: Anne Hebert's Marie-Clotilde De la Croix
Female religious are found reasonably often in Quebecois literature, but only rarely as main characters. Mother superiors are an even smaller subset of this group and when we read of them, they are usually somewhere in the fringes of the text, putting...
The Mythical Theory of Impregnation in Zola's Madeleine Ferat and L'assommoir
Promulgated by the French physician Prosper Lucas in nineteenth-century France, the theory of impregnation, an imagined physiological process, relates to the indelible mark left on a woman by her first lover, who even influences inseminations in which...
The Sociopolitical Role of Motherhood in Russian Cinema
The relationship between motherhood and society is universally complex, but even more so in the Russian context. The building of Communism altered women's social role, and the fall of Communism in 1991 altered it again. Before 1991 women were deemed...
The Spacialization of Motherhood: Estancia, Nation, and Gendered Space in Maria Luisa Bemberg's Miss Mary
According to Gaston Bachelard, author of The Poetics of Space, the house, or the abode, provides one of the greatest powers of integration for the thoughts, memories, and dreams of mankind. (1) In the film Miss Mary, the Argentine director, Maria Luisa...
Undercurrents of Mammy Wata Symbolism in Buchi Emecheta's the Joys of Motherhood
Buchi Emecheta's sardonically entitled novel The Joys of Motherhood engenders disparate readings. Does Emecheta intend to lance a scathing critique of the traditional role of motherhood in her native Nigeria? Does her protagonist's plight in colonial...