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Abortion Theme in "The Mother" by Gwendolyn Brooks Analysis

Categories: Abortion

Abortion is woman’s self-govern choice and society shouldn’t have a say on whether a fetus lives or dies. Abortion has been controversial as some people see it as murder, and other people see it as a personal choice. Regardless of what leads a woman to have an abortion, one thing is for sure that abortion is an irreversible procedure; that changes a woman’s physical and mental state of mind. Abortion can have serves effects on a women’s state on mind and can lead to severe emotional and mental break downs do to self -duress.

In ‘The Mother’ by Gwendolyn Brooks lets the reader experience regret, agony, and torment that the mother experience after committing an abortion.

The poem ‘The Mother’ is about a mother that experienced abortion, and the narrator uses the mother’s point of view to express her emotions and mental state of mind after she aborted her unborn children. In the opening line of the poem, the mother opens up with ‘Abortion will not let you forget’ (line 1) with this line she is relating to the reader that regardless she did the right or wrong choice she will always have to live with the consequences of her action.

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Then in the next lines of the poems, the mother goes into details of what life could have been if the baby(s) were to live but wasn’t because their lives were taken away before there time.

The mother wonders if the babies would have ‘little or no hair’ or what their future plans would hold ‘singers and workers’ (3-4).

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When the mother wonder if the had little or no hair, she is really wondering what the babies looked like or if the babies had any resemblance to her. Then she begins to think about how she won’t be responsible for bringing the babies into this world to suffer or how she would never have the chance to discipline them or tell them what is right and what is wrong. She will ‘never neglect or beat’ the babies or ‘leave them’ unattended (5-9). She agonizes and overthinks about the type of life they would of had with her as their mother, as the babies will never be there to reward them with a treat or make them feel happy. ‘Silence or buy with a sweet’ (line 6).

The mothers’ overthinking and agonizing make the readers question her mental health, as in the poem, she mentions, ‘I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children’ (line 11). These are signs that the mother might be experiencing guilt and emotional distress about having had an abortion. In a CBS article called, Abortion tied to sharp decline in women’s mental health, states that, ‘A provocative new study shows that women who have an abortion face an increased risk for mental health problems including substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.’ An average of about thirty-four percent of women that have an abortion suffer from these symptoms. The mother in the poem is experiencing these same after-abortion symptoms, and the narrator of the story can convey this to the reader, which allows the reader to feel the heartbreaking emotions of the mother.

As the poem progresses the narrator starts describing the regret and self-guilt of the mother, ‘If I stole your births and your names, / Your straight baby tears, and your games, / Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths’ (17-18). The mother is saying that’s it’s her fault that the fetus never became a baby; as it wasn’t able to grow and experience the every-day things of life. The unborn child was never able to cry, play games, fall in love, get married, and grow old and die, because that was taken for the unborn fetus by a mother that didn’t see herself as fit enough to raise a child in her circumstances. Then she tries to justify herself by explaining that it was not an intentional mistake after that abortion procedure was done.

She explains that it all happens so quick a one moment she is pregnant, and the next she is not. ‘Believe that even in my deliberateness, I was not deliberate’ (line 21). Even when the mother was going to get the abortion, she wasn’t sure she was making the right choice. Then the mother begins to admit that her sinful decision is what took away the future that the children could have had and even dough she knew it was wrong it was her decision to make. She also knows that all of the thoughts and emotions she is feeling inside her soul are consequence of her own actions and she will be forever heartbroken over her own decision.

Then as the poem ends, in the last lines the narrator stops giving excuses about the abortion. The narrator lets the reader know the babies are dead and despite all that memories and ideas are in the mother’s mind of what it could have been if she would of went through her pregnancies and had the children. None of the mother visualizations and regret will bring the children back from the dead. . ‘Since anyhow, you are dead’ (line 26). This why the narrator emphasizes that it is very important to think about what could be before moving forward and have an abortion and terminating a unborn child life.

The only certain thing is the love the mother feels for her unborn children(s) and even dough they were never born, she will always remember them in her own way. The mother’s emotions of guilt, regret, and agony for her mistakes are real, and in her mind, she will always be their mother even dough she was never a mother. ‘Believe me, I loved you all / Believe me, I knew you, though faintly and I loved, I loved you / All’ (33-35). Is evident that she wanted to become a mother but the circumstances that she was in did not allow for her to ever become a mother. And, now for the rest of her days she will think back of what her life would had been along her unborn children that she will forever love so dearly.

‘The Mother’ is a poem that written in a way that allows the narrator to tell the story to the reader; while also letting the mother speak to the reader, herself and to her unborn children directly and express her emotions, and thoughts. The poems is an amazing peace of art that allows to open their minds and see other people point of view without judging them. Today we live in a society were we are quick to judge another individual for their action and condemn them without knowing the history of what lead to their actions. This poem also helps us the readers understand that not everyone that has an abortion does it because they want to deliberately. As we learn from ‘The Mother’ it could have been that due to the circumstances or situation that mother is currently having it would be unmoral to bring a child into this world knowing that it was going to suffer. Why should society judge a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy and why should it be considered a crime when it’s a woman’s self-govern choice to bring or not to bring a life into this world. Woman as men do, should be able to chooses their own destiny without being pressure by society to become a mother or to be convicted as a criminal for choosing to have an abortion.

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Abortion Theme in "The Mother" by Gwendolyn Brooks Analysis. (2020, May 06). Retrieved from

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