Ruth Benedicts Relationship With Her Mother

2298 words - 9 pages

There are certain times in our lives when we look back at our life stories and reflect why we have become the person we are. It has become apparent that the mother daughter relationship plays an important role in determining who the daughter turns out to be as an adult. In the following stories about the life of Ruth Benedict, as well as two others written by Jamaica Kincaid and Andrea Lee, we will explore the mother daughter relationship, and just how much effect these mother’s had on their daughter’s adult personalities.
Ruth Benedicts experience as a child formed her into the
adult person she became. She was a very imaginative child, and
at a young age was able to make distinctions between two
different worlds, the world of her father "her world", and the world of her mother, the "other world". Ruth Benedict was born in 1887, her father was a doctor, and her mother was a teacher (Mintz 143). Her father passed away when she was twenty-one months old (Mead 97).
This is where Ruth decided that her life story began. She grew up in a single parent, extended family household. Benedict was born with full hearing, but became deaf after a case of the childhood measles (Mead 104). As a child Ruth also suffered from tantrums. These tantrums continued until her mother made her swear on the Bible that she would stop having them. They were replaced by a form of depression. Ruth was very obsessed with the idea of death, and thought of it as a beautiful and peaceful time, she also associated death with her father. Benedict used to lie in the hay and pretend that she was dead in her grave (Mean 101).
She also did not like to tell people what she was thinking about, especially if it was something of great importance that might hurt the other person, or cause the other person to interfere in "her world" (Mead 101). She was a brilliant young child who discovered at an early age that she did not need anyone to confide in, and that confiding in people about the things that were most important to her might cause those things to disappear (Mead 102). Benedict had two taboos in her life; not to cry in front of anyone, and not to show pain. She carried these taboos with her until after she married (Mead 105).
     Ruth Benedict attended Vassar College where she attained a degree in English Literature, and decided to pursue a career in teaching (Mintz 143). She married Stanley Benedict when she
was twenty-six (Mintz 143). After marrying Stanley, Ruth Benedict decided to focus on becoming a good house wife, although she did try to get her essay on Mary Wollstonecraft published (Mintz 143).
She was able to get some of her poetry published. Ruth discovered that she was barren, and was forbidden by her husband to get the operation that she needed in order to have children. Benedict did not discover the field of anthropology until 1919 when she began taking classes at New School for Social Research (Mintz 143). She...

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