Sarah Jeannette Duncan's a Mother in India - Victorian Men Create Mons

695 Words3 Pages
Sarah Jeannette Duncan's A Mother in India

Patriarchal Victorian Men Create Monstrous Victorian Women

706 Words

A Mother in India, as a story depends on the facade of appearance and the reality of emotional abandonment within a male dominated & Victorian society. Duncan's point is that Victorian men create monstrous Victorian women. Relationships of any emotional worth are rendered impossible between Helena and her daughter Cecily because of a life long separation imposed by the father. It is impossible for Helena to be Cecily's emotional or spiritual mother because Helena is not emotionally equipped to be anything else other than a servant to her husband. Her life has been pre-arranged by a series of male allowances and dictates.
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Her life to this point has been dictated by men. She does what she is allowed to do and little else. Her husband did not allow Cecily's return until she was twenty one years old because he simply would not hear of her coming before (15). Helena is expected to be maternal with a young woman whom she has not been allowed to raise. This is an un-fair position to be placed in by a requently absent husband. Helena does not want to feel old and is resolved to be young until [she] is old (15). She would rather not be reminded of her middle age by the maternally successful Mrs. Morgan or the presence of her youthful attractive daughter. With her daughter present she will lose the status of lady and gain attention as the mother of a twenty one year old woman. The relationship is tagged on too late by a pathetic father and a totally in-experienced mother who is now beyond caring.

Cecily is the victim of the self centred human garbage that is her parents. This story is an attack on Victorian domesticity and the pitfalls of being a mother in those times. Helena being a product of her society was incapable of being a mother at the age of forty and it is doubtful she could have been anything else other than a servant to her husband. Cecily did not stand a chance of having a meaningful relationship with her mother and is to be pitied as a character in such a dark, lamentable story. No doubt there is truth to the story, but it's lack of humour and it's absence of love puts

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