The Modern Compassionate Mother Archetype Analytical Essay by Nicky

The Modern Compassionate Mother Archetype
An examination of the universality of motherhood, comparing Mother Theresa and the Hindi goddess Durga as examples.
# 146978 | 2,256 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2010 | US

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This paper focuses on the universality of motherhood, noting that its ubiquity does not mean that motherhood and maternal qualities are viewed as exactly the same by all cultures and mythologies. The difference in Durga and Mother Theresa illustrate the different experiences of the cultures that produced the mythologies. In Western culture, the paper explains, largely due to the influence of the Christian tradition, the maternal ideal has been one of purity and total sacrifice as typified by Mother Theresa. The paper contrasts the Hindu culture, in which women were just as capable of action as men, though there were heavy restrictions on the proper times and ways to act; this activeness, coupled with the universal creative aspects of maternity, led to the dualism that is present in the mythological figure of Durga. The paper concludes that Durga and Mother Theresa typify the mythological maternal in different ways; each stands out to her culture as an exemplary standard of the life-bearing feminine.

From the Paper:

"The militancy that Druga has in many incarnations is in direct opposition to the actions and attitudes of Mother Theresa. This is also not a part of the Western archetype of the maternal. This is far and away the biggest difference between Druga and Mother Theresa--destructive power is no way a part of the latter's mythological (or historical) persona. Druga is usually depicted holding many weapons, however, and is often astride a tiger or other vicious animal on the attack (Rajhans, fig. 1). Depictions of Mother Theresa are, of course, much more serene; they even tend to block out any scenes of poverty and focus on the face of the woman herself, intensifying the mythological aura surrounding her (Abrams, fig. 2)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Abrams, Irwin. "Mother Theresa: Biography." Accessed 10 March 2009.
  • Bierlein, J. F. Parallel Myths. New York: Random House, 1994.
  • Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth. New York: Anchor Books, 1991.
  • Kennedy, Dan. "In Gloucester, a Murky Clarification." Media Nation. Accessed 10 March 2009.
  • Rajhans, Shri Gyan. "Goddess Durga: The Mother Goddess & Her Symbolism." Accessed 10 March 2009.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Modern Compassionate Mother Archetype (2011, January 31) Retrieved April 21, 2021, from

MLA Format

"The Modern Compassionate Mother Archetype" 31 January 2011. Web. 21 April. 2021. <>