Motherhood In The Western Family

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The concept of motherhood constitutes one of the staples of Western culture. In fact, the family is generally considered the basis of our society, since it is supposed to offer protection from the outer world, and to transmit the essential values necessary to act properly in the public sphere to children. The nurturing and educative role has traditionally been linked to the maternal figure, who goes on being considered the primary caretaker for children. The idea of the mother as the central source of cares for her offspring is widely considered natural, and often liked to her biological features. However, analysing the evolution of the concept of motherhood, it emerges that maternal love has not always been presented as an instinct, but its value has…show more content…
In order to prepare the ground for a more in-depth investigation and to organise the analysis coherently, in Chapter 1 I will consider the construction of maternal instinct in Western society through dominant discourse, and the support given by psychoanalytic theories to the institutionalisation of ‘natural’ patterns of mothering. Subsequently, I will investigate the traditional representations of ‘bad’ mothers in media discourse, popular culture and literature. Using this framework as a starting point, Chapter 2 will look at the portrayal of abusive mothers described from the daughter’s perspective in Oranges Are not the Only Fruit (1985) by Jeanette Winterson and Sharp Objects (2006) by Gillian Flynn, in order to observe in what way the daughter-narrator saves, condemns or tries to justify the maternal

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