How does Shelagh Delaney present mothers in A Taste of Honey?

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

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Helen is the mother figure of the play, and she is presented as an awful mother who thinks only of her own pleasure. She doesn't care about her child and doesn't act as a real mother to her.

However there is also a focus on what mothers "should" be, so one could say that Helen is presented very badly, but the need for a mother and the importance of mothering in general is emphasized in the work.

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heureuse | Student, Kindergarten | eNotes Newbie

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helen is represented as a careless,self-centured,shameless woman whose totally deprived from any sense of pride or dignity.although,she only cares of fulfilling her own trivial pleasure that comes in the first priority, rather than to fit her role as a mother,who should be responsible about her daughter's needs in the first place.

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yvonnemg | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Helen comes across as a self centred women, with very little knowledge of her daughters attributes (art) or needs, she lives hand to mouth from money gained from illicit favours of her many male companions. Helen has always failed Jo,from stable home life to education, sadly Helen is always running from debt.
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revolution | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Helen is one of the motherly figure in the entire story, who is a semi-whore and also a drunkard high on beers and alcohol. She had been involved with many illicit affairs with other men, depicting that she was not really a "mother" after all, just a despicable, low-down person. She is only capable of fulfilling her own pleasure and others and doesn't even care for her daughter's welfare, and others too. So, she was not even a real mother after all, and even her daughter hates her for that, for not caring for her enough and everyday goes for his usual flings, lacking of concern over her life and future.