Publication Date

1999

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Darsey, James Francis

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Department

Department of Communication

LCSH

Motherhood in popular culture--India||Motherhood--Mythology

Abstract

This thesis is dedicated to the exploration of mother-as-subject, from a variety of lenses and through the experiences of a couple of women. This work is also based on the notion that, in my reaction to the assumptions of this particular concept, representations of motherhood reverberate with the complexities of my own maternal bonds. The blending of the personal with the sociopolitical realities that constitute motherhood was a powerful analysis that demonstrated the ways in which social myths permeated and complicated the lived experience of mothering. I have devoted this study to analyzing the ideology of the entirely nurturant mother, and speak to the intractability of the myths surrounding motherhood. The way I see it, in the collision of reality with mythology, it is mythology that tends to prevail, as the language and the conventions of the story shape not only what is thought but also what can be said, heard and understood. Traditional portraits of the mother have tended to freeze the process of theorizing maternal subjectivity by erasing the tensions between subject and object, mother and child, fantasy and reality. Images of the maternal shape are in turn reshaped by cultural practices. My attempt has also been to emphasize the interconnection between the power of cultural practices and the development of the maternal subject who can both appropriate and contest these images. I have tried to explore the relation between intrusion and control, multiple and shifting meaning that maternal representations occupy in different arenas of social institutions. I have also focused attention on the paradox of attempting to articulate the meaning of motherhood in cultural arenas that find it difficult to comprehend the lived nature of women's experiences. The development of this study has enabled me to confront personal and the political issues related to maternal subjectivity, to question a society that has devalued and sentimentalized motherhood, and to develop images of generative and creative women who are also mothers. I have focused on motherhood as an inherently political experience, and I have chosen to reckon with my own image of motherhood and to confront representations of the mother.

Comments

Includes bibliographical references (pages [121]-131)

Extent

131 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

Share

COinS