Free Essay on "The Mother" by Gwendolyn Brooks

Published: 2023-01-09
Free Essay on "The Mother" by Gwendolyn Brooks
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Poem Abortion Character analysis American literature
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1628 words
14 min read

"The Mother" by Gwendolyn Brooks is a poem about a woman who laments after her decision of abortion. The persona cries for her aborted children to indicate guilt and emotional feelings that a mother who has aborted undergoes. The emotional experiences and guilt that a mother encounters after doing an abortion have no considerations in the legislation that support abortion as most of the people consider that termination of a pregnancy is a mother's right. I have chosen a passage from this poem for analysis in this close reading because abortion is one of the controversial issues in the world today. The arguments on the subject of abortion concerning the rights of the unborn, decisions of the mother, as well as the emotional effect to the mother have differing opinions. In this close reading, I will argue against abortion based on the emotional experiences and guilt a mother undergoes after doing an abortion. The essay will use the quote below as the core passage for analysis which is a section of the second stanza of the poem.

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"I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed


I have contracted. I have eased

My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.

I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized

Your luck

And your lives from your unfinished reach,

If I stole your births and your names,

Your straight baby tears and your games,

Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches,

and your deaths,

If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,

Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.

Though why should I whine,

Whine that the crime was other than mine?" (Brooks 2).

The stylistic device that is used by Brooks in writing the passage is imagery which involves the use of figurative language to illustrate actions, objects, ideas, processes in a manner appealing to the physical senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing, as well as touch. The writer used imagery to create the reality of a mother undergoes and feels after doing an abortion. In the first line of the core passage, the author describes how the mother hears the voice of her aborted children through the passing wind (Brooks 2). The readers can visualize the sound of a crying child through the description seen in the excerpt. As a result, the act of abortion and its effect on the mother and the fetus sticks becomes a reality in the readers' mind through the use of imagery.

Other than the use of imagery in describing the notion to physical senses, there is also the use of metaphor in describing actions and ideas in the passage. The aim of using a metaphor in the passage is to provide a vivid description of the pain that a mother experiences after losing a child through abortion. The readers get the actual picture of the emotional disturbance and guilt that follows the act of aborting a fetus. For instance, in line eight of the core passage, the narrator describes abortion as a way of stealing the names, births, baby tears, and games from the child (Brooks 2). The meaning of the statement was not literary stealing but a representation of what abortion does to a child. Therefore, through the use of imagery, the reader can picture the effects of abortion to the mind of a mother and how the fetus gets denied an opportunity to live.

The passage is in line with the rest of the poem in illustrating the notion of emotional experiences that a mother undergoes after doing an abortion. The excerpt describes the feelings of a mother who views herself as a killer of her children that she did not see. In the first line, the narrator says that she has heard the voice of her children in the wind which depicts the painful experience of a mother killing her child (Brooks 2). The author tries to use the passage in explaining emotional experience, pain, and guilt in a woman who decided to abort like in other sections of the writing. The quote is in line with the second line of the first stanza that says that anyone who aborts remembers her children that she did not get (Brooks 2). As a result, the passage covers the message for the entire poem in illustrating how emotionally painful is it to a mother who aborted her children.

The excerpt is a representation of a hidden issue about abortion, and that is guilt and pain that a woman experiences after doing an abortion. However much abortion rights permits a woman to do abortions, the negative psychological encounters that one undergoes after having done an abortion is the worst of it all. A woman who has done an abortion will firmly be against the act because of the pain and guilt that follows after taking such a decision. The passage is an anti-abortion message to supporters of abortion from the motherhood perception of a woman who did an abortion. The speaker is against abortion explains how it affects a woman psychologically who thinks of how her killed children did not live to enjoy life. The persona says how he stole the births, names, games, as well as marriages of her children which illustrate the anti-abortion agenda (Brooks 2). The passage's hidden agenda is to inform the reader that abortion is a wrong decision because it kills the joy of motherhood in a woman.

The passage depicts some tensions on the subject of abortion. One of the tensions concerns the one to blame for abortion. The persona tries to lament in a way showing that she did not decide to abort deliberately, but it was because of her situation. The blame for terminating the foetus is not on the mother but some underlying circumstances. For instance, on the thirteenth line of the passage, the narrator says that even in her deliberateness to abort, it was not a deliberate decision (Brooks 2). The speaker continues to say that the crime was not hers. This is an indication that the state that the mother was in caused her to abort the foetus. Analysis can depict that maybe it was because of her medical condition or she was a student; these situations could not have allowed her to give birth.

The justifications of a mother to abort are under tension with her position of pain, anguish, and guilt of losing a child. Though the mother tries to explain how circumstance forced her to abort, she is also regretting having taken such an action. If having a child was worth it, she would have forgone other duties and embarked on childbearing to prevent the pain, anguish, and guilt that comes after doing an abortion. The author tries to bring out the tension surrounding the one to be blamed for the decision for abortion. The narrator begins by blaming herself and ends by taking the blame to the conditions in life (Brooks 2). Consequently, legislation supporting abortion ought to establish a platform that prohibits deliberate termination of pregnancy to solve the issue of the one to blame for the abortion.

The passage leaves some questions regarding the subject of abortion in society. One of the questions is what the ethical concerns of abortion are? The agenda of the passage seems to depict the moral view of abortion as the persona is more of showing anti-abortion notion than justifying it. The lamentation on how she killed her children portrays abortion as a morally wrong decision. For instance, the mother describes how she acted wrongly by killing her children (Brooks 2). As a result, the question of the ethical aspect of abortion is evident in the passage, a situation requiring clarity on the ethics related to pregnancy termination.

The other question that the expert reveals is about the rights of a father, mother, and the unborn child. This is the most controversial on the abortion debates as the provision a right to one party leads to the denial of the other. The passage and the entire poem focus on the rights of the mother and the unborn child while the father finds no place in the narration. The author has described how the fetus gets denied the right of living at the expense of a mother who is not interested in childbearing. The speaker says that she poisoned the breaths of her children to mean killing the unborn children to deny them a right to live (Brooks 2). The mother, on the other hand, defends herself that it was not a deliberate action to mean that she wanted to enjoy her rights as an individual. The rights and responsibilities of a father also require consideration in the abortion debates for appropriate solution to the arising questions.

Conclusively, abortion should not be legalized as it not only deprives the unborn child the right to live, but it also causes emotional pain and guilt to a woman who aborts. As seen in the "The Mother," the persona is a woman laments and regrets having killed her children indicates the emotional experiences encountered by women to do abortions. The core passage of the poem which is a section of the second stanza of the poem has a connection with the rest of the poem in arguing on against abortion agenda. The excerpt has used imagery to describe to the readers the picture of how abortion affects both the unborn child and the mother. The quote has shown some tensions on who is to be blamed for the decision of abortion. The questions raised by the passage concerns the ethics surrounding abortion as well as the rights of the mother and the foetus.

Works Cited

Brooks, Gwendolyn. The Mother. State University of New York College at Brockport, 1945.

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