Exploration of Femininity in Motherhood

  • Shivanshie Garg Christ Deemed to be University, Bangalore
Keywords: Modern Literature, American Drama, Spanish Drama, Tragedy, Feminine, Motherhood, Rural Tragedy, Modernism


In this study the author be analysing the plays, a tragedy, Desire Under the Elms (1924) by American playwright Eugene O’Neill and a drama, The House of Bernarda Alba (1936) by Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca . The author will be analysing the characters of the mothers, Abbie (Desire Under the Elms) and Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba) and how their dysfunctional characters and behaviours are because of the influence and impact of patriarchy. A typical feminine quality assigned to a mother is of a nurturer who protects her children. But what are the consequences when she does otherwise? These plays depict the actions taken by the women that the society doesn’t associate to their role as a mother and doesn’t approve of them. The author will be looking at several tragedies and analyse the characters of the mothers. The author will be looking at the act of maternal filicide. So, this comes to us as a shock because we are not ready to accept this aspect of her character. Abbie kills her own son to prove her love for Eben and Bernarda Alba, a matriarch who controls the lives of the women around her, doesn’t shed a tear at the suicide of her daughter and exempts anyone from doing so. By the means of this study, The author wants to show that a mother is a human and she functions according to her desires and passions and they are allowed to diverge from their so-called perfect roles. They have been trying to break away from the stigma of being perfect and their stereotypical role of a selfless being. They want to place the individual above the society’s image of a mother. The author will compare and contrast the motherly and the un-motherly characteristics. 


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Author Biography

Shivanshie Garg, Christ Deemed to be University, Bangalore

Born in Gidderbaha, a small town of district Muktsar in the state of Punjab, Shivanshie completed her schooling with distinction from Delhi Public School, Bathinda. With a keen interest in reading and literature from an early age she went to pursue B.A. English Honours from Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, Pune. There she discovered her passion for creative writing and rekindled her love for painting and fine arts. She was introduced to Liberal Arts by her Professor of English who encouraged her to join a Certificate Course in Painting. Later, the concept of learning through Liberal Arts fascinated her so much that she completed a Diploma along with her Honours degree.

This essay is derived from her research work titled, ‘Exploration of Femininity in Motherhood: A Study of the Plays, Desire Under the Elms by Eugene O’Neill and The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca’ for Honours degree.


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How to Cite
Garg, S. “Exploration of Femininity in Motherhood”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 9, no. 2, May 2022, pp. 36-82, https://literaryjournal.in/index.php/clri/article/view/832.
Research Papers