The Joys of Motherhood

Corey Binns '00 English 27, 1997

She's wearing the looks of a young mother who's never been a mother before. Her face has shed a succession of masks (menopausal wife, ex-age-care officer, history teacher's life-long, long suffering mate); she's all innocence and maidenhood. A Madonna--and child. (Swift, 265).

They were all wearing the flushed expression of dilated joy that is the mother's true prerogative. (Rushdie 14).

Then, as I watched that face light up, a smile quickening its voice even when she was not smiling, there was a curious recognition in her familiarity of face. "Oh," I realized, "so it's not just Emma. Mamma's daughters also bring her joy." (Suleri, 153).

Along with the burdens of motherhood, Rushdie, Suleri and Swift all beautifully describe the miracle of motherhood and the blissfulness a child brings to its mother. Ironically, neither of the three are mothers themselves. Although the authors are unaware of a mother's actual emotions, their experiences as children of their mothers and encounters with other mothers make for a remarkably similar compilation of maternal issues. The reoccurrence of female gendered landscapes in all three novels establishes a common literary theme. Rushdie, Suleri, and Swift deal with a difficult issue faced by all postcolonial authors. That is, the issue of whether an author can write about a country, a society, or a group without participating in it themselves. In the three texts, the verisimilitude of the portraits of motherhood suggests that these authors write with a verified authority on issues of mothers found in and out of postcolonial settings.

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