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Mother Roles In The Novels The Great Gatsby And The Grapes Of Wrath

1240 words - 5 pages

The definition of the word “mother” according to the dictionary is “a female parent,” (“Mother,” 2011) but the way society views a mother is more. A mother isn’t simply a woman who gave birth to a child, but a woman who can raise, comfort, and care for their child. A mother’s job changes depending on what social standing they are in and what time they live in. Because of the different social classes and time periods of Daisy and Ma live in, their roles as the mother in the novels The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath greatly differ in their responsibility in their family, their treatment of their children, and their family morals, with Ma outshining Daisy as a true mother.
While Daisy’s responsibility in her family is very small and separated, Ma’s responsibilities are very vital to her family. In The Great Gatsby, Daisy didn’t have any real responsibilities. Her basic role in life was to play the “happy trophy wife” for Tom. She is almost a possession of his, like a new car. A perfect example of Daisy’s role in her family is when she is first introduced, “The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up…The other girl, Daisy, made an attempt to rise – she leaned slightly forward with a conscientious expression – then she laughed,” (Fitzgerald, 2008). In this scene, Daisy and Miss Baker are laying on the couch just looking beautiful, like objects on a shelf might. Fitzgerald even demonstrates their weak femininity by showing that Daisy isn’t quite strong enough to sit up on her own. Daisy’s actions in this scene display her reliance on her husband. Her job in the family is to look pretty and to pretend not to notice Tom’s infidelity. Daisy has no responsibility for her child, and as far as she’s concerned, taking care of Pammy is the nanny’s job. Ma’s jobs on the other hand, are very essential to her family. She does all of the cooking, housework, and nurturing that you would think of as a mother doing, “Ma served them greens and side-meat in tin plates. But before Ma ate, she put the big round wash tub on the stove and started the fire to roaring” (Steinbeck, 2006). Ma not only cooks and serves her family dinner; she also makes sure all chores are done before she eats. Her responsibility is to be there for her kids, and for the family as a whole. The differences between the responsibilities of Ma and Daisy stem from the social classes they reside in. While Daisy is in the upper class, where society expects a nanny to raise the children, Ma is in a lower class that expects a mother to be doing all the work of fostering a family.
Daisy treats Pammy like a toy, whereas Ma treats her children with all the respect and love she has in her. Daisy doesn’t love her daughter as much as you would expect a mother should, and this is partially because she probably felt obligated to have a daughter. Daisy uses her daughter, “That’s because your mother wanted to show you...

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