Discussion Topic

Character traits and description of Bud's mother

Summary:

Bud's mother in Bud, Not Buddy is described as a strong, loving, and determined woman. She instills in Bud a sense of pride and resilience, emphasizing the importance of his name and heritage. Her influence is evident in Bud's perseverance and optimism throughout the novel.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What character traits best describe Bud's mom?

I would say that Bud's mom is a strong woman.  I do not mean physically strong with big muscles though.  I mean emotionally strong.  We know that she had Bud at a very young age.  Bud was age 6 when she died, and she died at the age of 26.  That means she had Bud when she was 20.  Additionally, Bud's mother raised Bud on her own.  Bud has never known his father.  Bud's mother was able to support herself and her child during the Great Depression.  This tells readers that she is a mentally strong, capable, and dedicated woman.  

She's also blunt, forceful, and to the point.  One of my favorite parts of the book is when she is explaining to Bud why his name is Bud, not Buddy.  She tells Bud that "Buddy" is a dog's name, and that if she wanted people to call him that she would have added the "dy" to the end of his name.  During the entire conversation, Bud can only get in a few syllables at a time because his mother is in charge of the conversation.  It's her opinion, but Bud had better agree with it.  

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Describe the character of Bud's mother.

Bud's mother is a hard worker.  Although Bud never says that specifically, it is definitely indicated in the story.  She has to be.  She's a single mother during the Depression.  She has to work hard just to survive and ensure Bud's wellbeing.  Bud doesn't recognize it as hard work, though.  He is too young, but he does describe her actions.  

"Everything moved very, very fast when Momma was near, she was like a tornado, never resting, always looking around us, never standing still."

Momma was always doing something for or with Bud: cleaning his room, folding his clothes, reading him a bedtime story, etc.  

It's also clear that Momma loves Bud very much.  She would leave notes for him in the morning, which is caring in the first place.  Those notes would also include those three special words (I love you).  Bud remembers that, specifically, so it definitely made an impact. 

Bud's mother is also adamant that Bud grow up knowing about himself and the world around him.  Bud knew something was truly important because it was about the only time Momma slowed down.  

"The only time stuff didn't blow around when she was near was when she'd squeeze my arms and tell me things over and over and over and over."

Her technique worked, because Bud is able to remember a lot of her rules and teachings.  Chapter 5 has that great section on the four things that Momma really stressed.  

Momma isn't all work and rules though.  She has a softer more poetic side to her as well.  That's clear by thinking about what she named Bud.  She named him Bud, not Buddy.  She's says that a Bud is a flower to be.  It's waiting to open up and show the world its beauty and purpose.  Momma tells Bud that's what he is.  

She'd tell me, "Especially don't you ever let anyone call you Buddy, I may have some problems but being stupid isn't one of them, I would've added that dy onto the end of your name if I intended for it to be there. I knew what I was doing, Buddy is a dog's name or a name that someone's going to use on you if they're being false-friendly. Your name is Bud, period."

I'd say, "OK, Momma."

And she'd say, every single time, "And do you know what a bud is?"

I always answered, "Yes, Momma" but it was like she didn't hear me, she'd tell me anyway. "A bud is a flower-to-be. A flower-in-waiting. Waiting for just the right warmth and care to open up. It's a little fist of love waiting to unfold and be seen by the world. And that's you."

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Describe the character of Bud's mother.

Bud's mother, Angela Janet Caldwell, was a loving, caring individual who taught Bud important values that he carries throughout his life. Bud mentions on numerous occasions that his mother read to him before he went to sleep, and that she took him to the library when she was still alive. This tells the reader that Bud's mother valued literature and had an affinity for reading and learning. Bud feels very strongly about his mother and thinks about her continually throughout the novel. Bud's mother loved and cared for him deeply, which is reflected in the way Bud cherishes her memory. Later on in the novel, the reader learns that Herman E. Calloway, Angela's father, was very hard on his daughter. Angela couldn't deal with her father's overbearing nature and ran off with the drummer in his band to Flint, Michigan. Angela was a strong willed individual for having the courage to stand up to her father and leave home. Despite her audacity, she seemed to be depressed about leaving her family. The fact that Angela held onto the rocks that her father gave her, and collected flyers of Herman's performances, suggests that she missed him. Bud also says that his mother was a pretty woman, and judging by her bedroom, Angela was obsessed with horses as a child.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on