"To Crush or to Hold": The Power of a Mother in Janet Fitch's White Oleander
Julianne E. Meyer
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor
Janet Fitch's novel, White Oleander, portrays the dark side of motherhood and its capacity to create lasting impressions in the character of children in their charge. The vantage point provided within the novel finds support from studies which investigate the psychological influence and personality-molding impact mothers and mother figures possess over daughters. Through cultural and psychological studies the breadth of control mother-figures hold over the confidence of daughters becomes increasingly apparent. Within the novel, the duality of the mother figure appears in differing women, from Astrid's cruel and strong biological mother, Ingrid, to her kind and weak foster mother, Claire. The characteristically scattered women Astrid encounters throughout her youth greatly mold her paradigms, ideologies, and personality. The astronomical scars left behind by these women remain in stark contrast to the American societal norm of motherhood, providing proof of the importance of mother figures on both ends of the spectrum.
Keywords: Janet Fitch, English, Mother, White Oleander
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Location: VH 1408