What is the poem "The Mother" about?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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"The Mother" is Brooks' portrait of a poor woman who has experienced the challenging conditions of material reality and psychological condition.  In the poem, Brooks pays attention to the difficulty in living in poverty.  When individuals understand the construct of poverty and economic challenge, it is magnified when understanding how mothers and caregivers have to operate within such a paradigm.  This external reality impacts the woman on a psychological level, for her economic condition compelled her to have multiple abortions.   The exploration of the impact of both spheres of existence helps to bring to light the difficulty of living in the modern setting.  In depicting a character in this light, Brooks' poem brings to light how economically challenged living conditions robs the humanity from those who live there.  Brooks' subject is challenged by her psychological and sociological state, and this exploration becomes the basis of the poem.

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