Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
“The Nun’s Mother” begins with a sense of finality, of something already completed. Maud and Luke Latimer are seated in a taxi moving away from the convent where their daughter, and only child, now resides. The narrator of the story is Maud Latimer; her interior monologue traces how and why this event occurred and what the consequences will be for the major characters in the story.
The first response to this new situation by Maud is an unexpected one. In contrast to the visible grief of her husband, Luke, she feels some “relief” that it is over. Maud suspects that Luke is brooding about some imagined medieval horrors of the nunnery. In contrast, she is comfortable with such an institution and the “curious streak of chastity” in women. Once the unfamiliarity and strangeness of this event have been overcome, Maud begins to probe the consequences more deeply. First of all, it will close certain options for her. It will mean “no more fun out shopping” for her after her daughter has gone, no need to make plans, no need to collect such things as silver for a future bride, no need “to remain young.”
She also wonders what problems her new title, a nun’s mother, will bring her. Will she have to change her manner of dress, will she have to “smoke only in a cupboard,” will she have to play an unfamiliar and uncomfortable role? In contrast to this disturbing prospect, she imagines that Luke will become accustomed to his role,...
(The entire section is 890 words.)
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