Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top Ten Mothers from Literature - Top Ten Tuesday (May, 16, 2017)

Top Ten Favorite Mothers from Literature

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Unfortunately, I don’t have 10 favorite mothers from my classics list. So, this is actually 4 favorites, 3 I’m ambivalent about, 2 I disliked, and Melanie Hamilton is a class by herself.


Ma Joad from The Grapes of Wrath for her tireless devotion to her family.

Lady Jessica from Dune

Fantine from Les Mis

Amelia Osbourne from Vanity Fair – I’m judging this from memory, and I might change my mind later (this is my current read – a reread). Amelia has her flaws, but as I remember her devotion as a mother brings her to a terrible sacrifice. I’m not even sure I agree with her decision, but have no doubt about the purity of her motive.

Ambivalent – There were some things I liked about these mothers, but then there were other moments – not so much:

Sethe from Beloved

Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter

Dishonorable mention:

Antonia (mother of Claudius) from I, Claudius

Livia (Wife of Caesar Augustus) also from I, Claudius

Those last two are particularly awful.

Finally, there are other female characters whom I liked and/or admired, who happened to be mothers, but my opinion of them had little to do with their role as mothers, such as: Melanie Hamilton from Gone with the Wind. How can you not love Melanie? and although I find no fault with her as a mother, neither did I find anything especially commendable in that regard.


  1. I read Dune in my early twenties (ahem, cough...years ago) - and hadn't really thought about it since. But suddenly so many bloggers are remembering or reminding me of it.

    Maybe a reread is on the cards?

    Did you ever read Little Women? Marmee March is a pretty impressive mother figure - I think she'd top my list :-)

    1. Yes, definitely Marmee, but I know her only from film. I'm due to read LW a bit later, but this was based only on those I've read.

  2. Fantine is a great example! She gives up so much for her child. And I also seem to remember that Amelia was a good mother, although like you it's been a while since I read Vanity Fair!


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