A Mother, A Daughter An Analysis On Joyce Maynard's: "Honoring Mothers: Four Generations"

762 words - 3 pages

Written by authorJoyce Maynard, the essay, "Honoring Mothers: Four Generations", begins with a description of the relationship between mother and daughter. The first few lines illustrate how a daughter, typically, would grow up to be much like her mother. ("The kind of mother I am is all wrapped up with the kind of mother I had."). In the first paragraph, the author explains how mothers pass on certain traits to their daughters, whether deliberately or unconsciously. These traits are then carried on for generations. This idea is apparent in the lines, "I'll hear myself saying to my children the very words that were once said to me. (Of cookies on a plate: "What you touch you take." Or, to a child wailing over being sent to bed: "That just shows me you're overtired.") Some of those lines go back a generation or two before me, and probably one or two will survive through my children in the twenty first century."In the second paragraph, the author relates her own experiences with her mother. She recalls her adolescence, and the way her mother had brought her up. ("My mother raised me to be a mother, and (though I'm always quick to say not "when you have children," but only "if") the truth is I am probably passing on a good deal of the same pattern to my children too." The notion of patterns being "hard to break" is also evident in these lines. After she muses over her youth and upbringing, the author begins the story of what was to become a momentous episode in her life. The lines, "Audrey had just turned one. I was twenty five, my mother, fifty seven, my grandmother, eighty six. One day there were four generations. The next day there were only three," foreshadows the beginning of a great misfortune.In paragraphs three and four, the author begins the tale of a tragedy that her family was about to face. She narrates how her mother had informed her that her grandmother was dying. The lines, "She had refused an operation that would postpone, but not prevent her death from pancreatic cancer. She could no longer eat, she had been hemorrhaging, and she had severe jaundice," informs the audience of the condition of her grandmother. The relationship between mother and daughter changes in the fourth...

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