So maybe there was that incident with the apple. Or the embarrassment at the dance at Netherfield. And trying to rip Beowulf from stem to stern was probably a bit extreme. But really, aren’t some of fiction’s mothers just misunderstood? There are plenty of good mother role models: Marmee in Little Women. Mrs. Miniver. Mrs. Lancaster in The Fault In Our Stars. But are the “wicked” moms really so bad? Or are they victims of bad publicity? Maybe they just need a second look:
For a do-it-all modern mother, look no farther than Mayor Regina Mills. Regina might have a problem with jealousy, and an overenthusiastic use of her supernatural powers, but she gets a bum rap as the wicked stepmother. Yes, she blamed Snow White for losing the man she loves after expecting a little girl to keep a secret from her manipulative, sorcerer mother, and poisoned Snow White with an apple. And, sure, she put a curse on an entire land, transporting them to New England. But Regina was just trying to escape her unhappy past and build a new life with her adopted son, Henry. In spite of literally having no heart, she loves Henry and will do anything to keep his life stable and idyllic, even if it means controlling an entire town through intimidation and mass amnesia. You go, girl!
We only know her as Grendel’s mother, one of three foes the namesake hero faces in the epic poem, Beowulf. High school English teachers tediously teach that she was a monster. But that’s just plain wrong. While the epic is short on details, we know she was a great warrior and loving mother, stricken with grief. Like Regina, all she wants is for her son to be happy and safe. In the end, she makes the ultimate sacrifice, dying to defend his honor. Who can blame her for avenging her son’s death?
a.k.a. Fanny, a.k.a. The Mother
Pride & Prejudice
If you want a model for perseverance and success, look no farther than Mrs. Bennet. To the world she is a shallow, foolish woman with little or no control over her daughters including a silly, reckless girl who plunges headlong into a scandal that might ruin the whole family. She could easily be awarded Worst Regency Mother Ever. But take a closer look. Fanny Bennet is married to a man with an estate entailed to the eldest living male heir, and has five daughters, no sons. In a time when women have no legal standing, she knows that they must marry for their survival. In reality, she is the best of mothers. She relentlessly pursues husbands for her daughters, stopping at nothing to ensure their security. And there is no denying her success – three daughters married in a year, and two of them to the biggest fish in town.
a.k.a. Cinderella’s Stepmother
Elizabeth “Betty” Francis (nee Hofstadt)
a.k.a. Betty Draper a.k.a. “The Witch”
It is no accident that people compare Betty Francis to Grace Kelly. Beautiful, elegant and a former model, Betty is the
So on Mothers’ Day, let’s take time to toast these courageous mothers for their passion, drive and devotion to their children. After all, we haven’t heard their side of the story.