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The Mother: Summary

Gwendolyn Brooks
"The Mother," by Gwendolyn Brooks, is about a mother who has experienced a number of abortions and now has remorse. You can feel the remorse she is going through when reading the poem. She is regretful, yet explains that she had no other choice. It is a heartfelt poem where she talks bout how she will not be able to do certain things for the children that she aborted. This poem may be a reflection of what many other women are dealing with. 

The first stanza starts off with "Abortions will not let you forget," which sounds like the woman is talking in general terms. She is talking about how future experiences will never take place. Things like "You will never wind up the sucking-thumb or scuttle off the ghosts that come," are some of the many that will not be done. In a way, the women being told this are reminded of the pain they are going through. 

In the second stanza, the woman is talking about her pain and loss. In "I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children," she is haunted by her own children's faint cries that she hears in her mind. She then makes the transition from telling the reader to explaining to her children why she did what she did. It feels as though she can't control her emotions and finally breaks down. She forgets about the reader and focuses on her children. She is asking for some understanding when she says, "Believe that in my deliberateness I was not deliberate. . . . Though why should I whine," she asks, "Whine that the crime was other than mine." 

She feels that she did what she had to do. She probably couldn't handle having kids at the time because of her situation, whatever it was, so she had an abortion. She probably didn't think it was a crime, but society has made her believe it is and she feels guilty. She tries to brush it off when she says, "Since you are dead," but then admonishes herself by saying, "or rather, or instead, you were never made." 

In the third stanza, she picks up where she left in the second stanza, but this time she tries to figure out what she did. She doesn't know what to label what she had done or is probably afraid to label it. "You were born, you had body, you died," she says blankly. She tries to make excuses for what she did, but her emotions conquer her denial. "Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you All." She knew her children because they were a part of her being that they were in her body. She emphasizes that she loved them to let them (and herself) know that she really loved them although she did what she had to do.

"The Grieving of The Mother by Gwendolyn Brooks." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Sep 2009 
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