Discuss the theme of motherhood in Second-Class Citizen.

The theme of motherhood in Second Class Citizen is brought across through Adah's determination to care for her children, no matter how difficult her circumstances become. She refuses to take the easy way out and place them into foster care. When she discovers that they are being neglected by the childminder, she takes action as best she can. The protagonist has many qualities which make her the best mother that she can be in difficult circumstances.

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A large portion of Adah’s desire to bring change to her life and improve her circumstances stems from her responsibilities as a mother. While she has always been ambitious, she prioritizes her children’s needs throughout the novel. She becomes a motherly figure as early as chapter two, caring for her daughter, Titi, and taking on many of the responsibilities in the household she shares with her husband and his parents. As the sole breadwinner in the house, I would argue that she adopts a maternal or nurturing role by ensuring that everybody is fed.

Once they are in London, Adah and Francis have some challenges with their landlords, and both they and Francis encourage Adah to place the children in foster care. Adah’s horror at this idea, and determination to protect her children, drives home the theme of motherhood. Later, when Adah discovers that the childminder to whom she sends the children during the day while she is at work is neglecting her children, she responds with the same levels of fury that any mother would.

While each of her children are a physical, emotional and financial responsibility for Adah, she loves them deeply and is committed to giving them the best possible life. Throughout the novel, she shows herself to be the best mother that she can be, despite having an abusive husband and living in extremely difficult circumstances.

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