The Mask Of Motherhood In The Fire-Dwellers, By Margaret Laurence

2239 Words 9 Pages
The Fire-dwellers, a novel by Margaret Laurence demonstrates Susan Maushart’s theory of the Mask of Motherhood, through the portrayal of the main character Stacey MacAindra. Stacey is the mother of four children, age of thirty-nine and has been married to Mac (Clifford) MacAindra for sixteen years, from the outside world everything seems fine in her life but at a closer look one can see the daily internal and external struggles Stacey goes through. The Mask of Motherhood is a theory that attempts to explain the suppression women deal with after having a child. The biggest change in one’s life is after their first child, their life changes completely and they find themselves with a new identity. This change hits women more than men because it …show more content…
The Fire-Dwellers demonstrates The Mask of Motherhood because Stacey’s throughout the novel has been going through an enormous struggle with trying to find her identity after her marriage with Mac and having children. Laurence describes Stacey’s struggle with flashbacks to her past, her thoughts and third point narrative. This essay will demonstrate how Stacey’s life is an ideal representative of the theory of the Mask of Motherhood by illustrating her camouflage through her struggle within, her responsibility of being a mother and wife and overall the suppression she feels.
The Mask of Motherhood described by Susan Maushart is a theory that is defined as a socially constructed representative of Motherhood. The mask is a misconception of how mothers should act, think, look and all around be. The idealized representative of a mother is impossible. No mother is the perfect mother because no mother can be the mother that society has constructed but all mothers put on a charade and pretend they are the perfect mother, which is the Mask of Motherhood. Mothers are silenced because they do not want to seem like they cannot play their part as a mother but most if not all mothers have the same concern. Maushart talks to journalist
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Stacey has a lot of insecurities about herself, the way she is raising her kids and her relationship with her husband but she does not allow herself to show that she has a problem and continues to mask her worries, this is the Mask of Motherhood. She does not allow anyone to know her problems and does not seek help. Stacey tries to conceal her worries even with her mother. “- I wonder what would happen if just for once I put down what was really happening? Dear Mother- There must be some way of talking to kids but I don’t seem usually to find it.” (Laurence, 144) She is writing a letter to her mother and for once she thinks about telling her the truth but stops and mask her worry by writing to her mother that everything is fine. She creates a bigger gap between her and her mother because she does not want to admit she does not know what she is doing. The Mask of Motherhood also deals with suppression which is exactly what Stacey feels with Mac. “Should I tell Mac? Yeh, and have him say I’m making a fuss about nothing. He doesn’t want to know anything difficult about me or the children” (Laurence, 205). Here Stacey is contemplating to tell Mac about Tess (Stacey’s neighbour) babysitting Jen only for her to make Jen watch a fish eat another fish. This is a traumatizing experience for Jen but Stacey decides to keep it to herself because she feels Mac does not care about any of this. She is supressed

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