Mother’s Day is just a mere three days away! If you still haven’t gotten the most important woman in your life anything yet, have you considered presenting her with the gift of fiction? As we always have our noses buried in one book or another, we couldn’t help but wonder which genre of fiction would be a suitable gift for Mum. Perhaps one that features a mother character with nerves of steel? And that got us thinking – who are some of the best mother characters in literary works? Do you have such a favourite? They might just be figments of someone’s imagination, some of them having been brought to life on the big screens, but they most definitely would have left a hefty impact on our own imaginations. We put together this list of endearing literary mothers whom we aspire to model after!
Literary Mama: Molly Weasley
She Appeared In: The Harry Potter series
Her Creator: J.K. Rowling
Why We Love Her: Ah, dear Molly Weasley – our favourite mother from the wonderful world of wizardry! There are several reasons as to why we adore this epitome of maternal perfection. She warmly welcomes anyone who is not a biological member of the Weasley clan and makes them feel at home. (throwing a birthday party for the orphaned Harry Potter himself) She becomes a mother to anyone who needs the support of a maternal figure. Molly’s sense of hospitality is unrivalled – she works tirelessly in the kitchen and is generous with her delicious food. She also has skills which she uses to ensure the safety of her family. It was revealed in the final book of the series that Molly Weasley is one of the most talented women in the wizarding world when it comes to a duel! We were bowled over!
The mother of a whopping seven children also pushes her babies to develop into fine wizards, while simultaneously cheering them on. Stealing Dad’s flying car and getting spotted by Muggles? (shame on you!) She most definitely isn’t afraid of letting her opinion be known. But she is sure to be singing your praises should you be chosen as a Hogwarts prefect! (cue perfect Percy) Oh, and have we mentioned how wonderfully resourceful the woman can be? The Weasleys are under financial strain, but Molly somehow cheerfully manages to run the household with the earnings of the sole breadwinner, Mr Weasley. Deep down, she probably knows that her children and her husband are her true treasures! Way to go, Mrs Weasley! 500 points to Gryffindor!
Literary Mama: Rosa Hubermann
She Appeared In: The Book Thief
Her Creator: Markus Zusak
Why We Love Her: Rosa Hubermann is a stellar example of the complicated mother figure, a paradox in a way. She is the protagonist Liesel’s foster mother, who barely displays the slightest sliver of affection towards her from the beginning. A reader’s initial impression of her would probably have been that she is someone not to be trusted with children. However, as the novel progresses, we eventually see that she softens up to the young girl under her care.
When Max, the Jewish refugee, arrives on the scene, we see a rather loveable facet of Rosa being unearthed. She is unbelievably kind to Max and maintains that hiding him is the right thing to do. She becomes generous with her food and love as well. Caring for Max aids Rosa in developing her relationship with her foster daughter for the better. On the big screen, towards the end of the film, we finally got to see mother and daughter locked in an embrace. Rosa’s maternal instincts were then out in full force. The progression was complete; from harsh foster mother to comforter.
Literary Mama: Marilla Cuthbert
She Appeared In: Anne of Green Gables
Her Creator: Lucy Maud Montgomery
Why We Love Her: Marilla Cuthbert is yet another of those women with a cold personality and a hard edge. She was often portrayed as being cross or sarcastic, and almost always had difficulties with speaking from her heart. So why do we love her? Well, beneath the surface, Marilla is still a gem of a woman. Marilla and Matthew had intended to adopt a boy to aid with the labour on the farm, but upon sensing Anne’s plight, her maternal instincts kicked in and she was moved. She agreed to keep Anne, and she never once regretted her decision.
We also love her for letting her guard down and speaking straight from the heart to Anne after Matthew passes away suddenly.
“Oh, Anne, I know I’ve been strict and harsh with you maybe–but you mustn’t think I didn’t love you as well as Matthew did, for all that. I want to tell you now when I can. It’s never been easy for me to say things out of my heart, but at times like this it’s easier. I love you as dear as if you were my own flesh and blood and you’ve been my joy and comfort ever since you came to Green Gables.”
Excuse me while I grab a tissue.
Literary Mama: Margaret March
She Appeared In: Little Women
Her Creator: Louisa May Alcott
Why We Love Her: She is affectionately known as “Marmee” by her four daughters and she is essentially the perfect mother. Although she works ever so hard during the day, she is never too occupied to pay attention to her daughters, to console them or dish out advice if need be. She is cheerily involved in charity work and also helps out with the war effort. She is an ideal housewife, an affectionate mother and a woman with strict principles. She also somehow remarkably never loses hold of her temper and protects her daughters while accommodating mistakes on their parts, thus giving them room to learn their own lessons.
What is even more commendable about Marmee is that she does not encourage her daughters to marry for money despite their dire financial status. She firmly believes in hard work, faith and honesty. She values even the lowest rungs of society, such as the immigrant family comprising the Hummels, and considers them just as important as any other members of society. She also believes in empowering her daughters through education, so that they will be able to make decisions for themselves. Three cheers for the astoundingly progressive nineteenth century mama, Marmee!
Literary Mama: Lindo Jong
She Appeared In: The Joy Luck Club
Her Creator: Amy Tan
Why We Love Her: This Asian classic, which some of us would have studied for Literature back in the days, featured four distinct pairs of Chinese mothers and daughters. So what makes Lindo Jong stand out? She is one tough cookie! Her main trait of craftiness helps her to free herself honourably and deviously from a suffocating marriage, and we can’t help but admire her for that! She is undeniably in control of her clever mind and manages to skilfully balance her own desires with the expectations of her parents and her notion of respect for her elders.
We also have to give it to her for not cracking under immense pressure; she was raised under repressive circumstances, endured an awful marriage, and was treated as her wretched mother-in-law’s personal slave. Lindo hosts a strong sense of self. While in tears on the day of her wedding, she eventually realises her own personal value which she should not dilute at any cost. Lindo is also an exemplary mother in that she wishes the best (as any true mother would) for her daughter, Waverly; “American circumstances and Chinese character”.
Literary Mama: Mary Logan
She Appeared In: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Her Creator: Mildred D. Taylor
Why We Love Her: Here’s one good reason why we love Mama Logan – she is a teacher who feeds her students “radical” information regarding slavery, which isn’t covered in the textbooks approved by the county. (we are all in for the breaking of this rule!) She isn’t afraid to address the thorny issue of slavery even when some of the white school board members are observing one of her lessons. Here is one woman who won’t back down! She doesn’t give in even when Mr Granger tells her that she shouldn’t be teaching content that cannot be found in the textbooks. Mary Logan is not the least bit afraid to stand up for what she believes in, even if it gets her into hot soup.
If that doesn’t suffice, Mama Logan is also responsible for organising the boycott against the Wallace store which is owned by whites. We love this mother who is a born leader and teacher! Do not mess with Mama Logan!
We would like to wish all mothers (even the fictional ones) an advanced Happy Mother’s Day!