Four awesome Mothers of Literature

Book Thoughts, children's books, Uncategorized, Writing Thoughts


As in, Mothers In literature. As I explained in my previous post, I realised recently how few mothers who have great characters are present in fiction. In fact, how few mothers there are at all let alone decent ones. I’m not even looking for great mothers or likeable people here, just characters with some depth, growth and who aren’t just weak or rubbish. An evil domineering mother, even, would do, though I wouldn’t be using them as a role model.

Here are the first four awesome Mums we could think of. More to follow soon!

  1. Mrs Weasley, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Probably my generation’s favourite fictional mother? She is the perfect mix of kindness, motherly annoyance, genuine real love for her family, and fierceness. Her swear word is probably the only one my own mother has ever approved of. If we didn’t have our own mothers, she’s probably the one we’d pick.

2. Marmee, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and subsequent books.

Marmee is proper awesome. She raises four amazing daughters who become terrific women on her own in times of real hardship without the presence of her husband. She teaches them morals, to be true to themselves, encourages them to do the best they can and works hard at her own life too. She cares for and mothers Laurie and others too. She and the books are perhaps a little too sweet, but if you actually think about the circumstances, she is strong and amazing.

3. Mrs Ramsay in Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse

I was totally overwhelmed by Mrs Ramsay when I first read this. Like the young women characters in the book, her ability to be what seems to be ideal woman totally overwhelmed and terrified me. How could one ever hope to be all the things she was to so many people? Her character dominates the first half of the book and overshadows the second. I think I’ve now come to terms with her, but it could perhaps be that I’ve just not read it for a while…

4. The mother in Edith Nesbit’s The Railway Children

I feel like Nesbit probably had a few other good mothers in her (exceptional) children’s books too. Again here is a mother fighting against the odds to look after her family; working hard so they can survive and being strong in what is hinted to be a really difficult situation with her husband. And she brings up awesome children, and is brilliant. Well done.

Those are my first four! My next four are a little lesser known, and will be coming soon! Have you any to add to the list?

9 thoughts on “Four awesome Mothers of Literature

  1. Love this list! Marmee is definitely one of my favorites too. From your list, Little Women is the only book I’ve read — but I’m interested in reading The Railway Children one day. :)

    Since we share some common literary taste, if you happen to be interested in reading any Louisa May Alcott books this month, I’m hosting a reading challenge in honor of her this month on my blog.

    I’m off to ‘discover’ more on what you write about!

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