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The cave: A search for the mother’s story in narrative literature

Kadmos, HelenaORCID: 0000-0002-7834-1695 (2010) The cave: A search for the mother’s story in narrative literature. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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The mother’s voice is underrepresented in literature. The mother has been a silent figure, always present, often near, featuring in the story of another, but rarely the focus of the story. She has been spoken for, about and around, but rarely empowered to speak for herself.

In this thesis I argue that the mother’s story, in narrative fiction and memoir, should be available, and culturally valued. Since the diversity of women’s experiences of mothering cannot be explained by any single theory or ideology, narrative may articulate the complexities and ambiguities experienced in motherhood in ways that scholarly discourses do not always allow.

This thesis includes a creative component—a collection of related fictional stories narrated by one mother, and entitled “The Cave”. Adopting the concept of the cave, as a metaphor for the transformative potential of mothering, the fiction draws on the mundane, everyday experiences of a life that is centred on caring for children. The exegesis that follows is based on three approaches to mothering narratives: their research, reading and writing. It explores the emergence of the mother’s story within theoretical discourses around motherhood, and its more recent appearances in fiction and non-fiction narratives. It suggests reasons for the absence of the mother’s subjective voice, argues that women have been disadvantaged by this silence, and seeks new possibilities for representing the complexity of mothering experiences.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Supervisor(s): Lazaroo, Simone and Surma, Anne
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