The Figure of the Mother in Maxim Gorky's "Mother" Essay

The Figure of the Mother in Maxim Gorky's "Mother"
An analysis of the protagonist in Maxim Gorky's novel "Mother" in terms of her mental, social, political, and psychological evolution.
# 154043 | 5,386 words | 9 sources | 2014 | CA
Published by on Oct 23, 2014 in Literature (Russian)

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From the Paper:

"This paper traces the personal and psychological development of the character of the Mother in Maxim Gorky's novel Mother, from an abused, uneducated, downtrodden housewife to an outspoken champion of the socialism. This evolution takes place in several stages, with five major turning points in the plot and several "awakenings" that occur in the Mother's consciousness as she emerges from the shadows into the limelight. Gorky chose a mother to be the heroine of his novel quite deliberately as a way of dramatizing the birth of what he hoped was a new consciousness in the Russian soul following the Emancipation of the Serfs in 1861. Gorky drew on his maternal grandmother, a loving, compassionate, deeply religious woman, in creating the figure of the Mother. However, he takes his protagonist far beyond the dutiful, but oppressed, housewife that his grandmother was, showing how by gradual degrees she is transformed into a politically conscious member of Russian society. In fact, in the novel, she becomes a figure of the Russian people as a whole, for her transformation parallels the transformation of Russian society. She embodies the expanding circle of consciousness, from concern for one's immediate family to concern for one's circle of friends, and from there to society as a whole, and ultimately to the entire world. The Mother's story is a story of self-development, self-education, and self-enlightenment, and ultimately of self-sacrifice for the greater good. The paper concludes with the observation that Gorky's optimism for the Russian Revolution was perhaps misplaced, for the revolution did not usher in the kind of society that he envisioned in the novel, but one that was as harsh and repressive as the one that it overthrew."

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