In anticipation of Mother’s Day, I wanted to write a mother appreciation post to pay tribute to my favourite mothers in literature. I’ve picked these mothers based on their strength, wisdom, selflessness, and their undeniable love for their families. Here are the best loved mothers who’ve inspired me and touched my heart in one way or another:
Mrs. Weasley, Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
Here we have one of the ultimate mother figures – in fact, Mrs. Weasley may very well be the definition of what it means to be motherly. We see this in the way she not only cares for and worries about her own children, but also Harry and the gang. As an outsider looking in, it makes me a little sad to see her nurturing ways often going underappreciated by her children (ahem Ron’s forgotten corn beef sandwich). The best part about Mrs. Weasley is that she loves all her children unconditionally, despite their flaws. Clearly, she puts her family before anything. Mrs. Weasley proves to be more than she seems: she’s a woman of strength, of courage, and of a selfless heart. Plus, how could we forget: “Not my daughter, you b****!”
Ma, Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
As one of the first chapter books I ever read, Ma has a special place in my heart. Despite the dangers and hardships of the American Midwest in the late 1800s, she proves to be more than capable of courageously meeting its challenges. Embodying all the qualities of a hard-working pioneer woman, Ma displays bravery and perseverance time and time again. I’ll never forget the image of her sitting in her rocking chair with Pa’s shotgun, keeping watch over the family through the night while awaiting his return. A constant pillar of strength to her husband and children, Ma’s patient heart, encouraging words, and loving nature are a thing of inspiration.
Marilla, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
While Marilla would probably cluck her tongue at being included in this list, I’m including her anyway. With all her narrowness and stern ways, Marilla proves to have a big heart and a soft way about her. She’d never say it in so many words, but Marilla loves Anne with an E and we all know she would do everything in her power to defend her adopted daughter. Perhaps in the end, Marilla makes the list because of her faults. Far from being the perfect mother figure (really, who is?) she learns to love like one, opening her heart to Anne’s love and allowing it to change her.
Laurence, Les Belles Images by Simone de Beauvoir
Laurence is the protagonist of the 1966 book by Simone de Beauvoir. In addition to being a mother, she juggles multiple roles: she’s a wife, a daughter, homemaker, career woman, and even a lover in an extramarital affair. The reason I like Laurence is because of the tenderness she feels for the inevitability of her daughters growing up, recognizing the patriarchy and the restraints of society that will one day overpower them. Spurred by the realization of her own demise, she’s determined to protect her daughters from the same fate and give them their best shot at happiness.
Marmee, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
A list about mothers would be incomplete without the beloved Marmee from Little Women. When I read the book as a child, I don’t think I really appreciated just how much Marmee sacrificed for her girls. Now, I realize the true strength of her character – her shoulders being strong enough to bear her own pain and that of her daughters as well. I appreciate the fine line she treads, balancing being happy for one daughter while deeply feeling the disappointment of another. Somehow, she manages to be caring and protective while still allowing her children to make their own mistakes, hardworking while never being too busy to listen to them, and full of wisdom without ever being nagging. Leading by example, Marmee instills in her daughters the values of patience, forgiveness, hard work, and independence.
Who are your favourite literary mothers? Share in the comments!