This webpage was done for my literature/history course taken at Pace University and taught by Professors Martha Driver and Nancy Reagin. The course was on motherhood in European history and literature. It examined motherhood as a social, historical, and literary construct. We discussed how motherhood was defined in a variety of historical cultures: the work assigned to or expected of mothers, the ideal of the "good mother," the relationship between mothers and fathers, and the legal position of mothers. In addition to the historical cultures, we also examined motherhood and mothers in a variety of literary works, dicussing motherhood as a metaphor. The periods ranged from about 200 B.C. until 1945.
We were required to do a web-based research assignment on one topic and I decided to pick "destructive mothers." Some may say that "destructive mothers" is quite a dark and disturbing topic but I felt that it was a very controversial theme that was found in literature, such as in Medea by Euripides and "Le Fresne" by Marie De France. Because of the controversy surrounding it, I decided to do research on the topic and ended up writing two papers on it. I wrote a literary paper which talks about Medea, which is a character in Euripides play Medea, who kills her children and because of this is seen as a bad mother. The paper discusses why I feel that Medea is a "murderous mother" but not necessarily a "bad" one. The historical paper discusses the reasons why "bad" mothers abandoned, neglected, or murdered their children and the punishment given for engaging in these actions. I try to prove why these mothers weren't really “bad,” they were just victims of their circumstances.
I have also included a Citations page, which has all the works and links that I used to write the papers and to construct this webpage. The Glossary of Terms page has descriptions on the characters in Medea, which I linked with the literary paper so that you could understand the characters I discuss a little better. And another page on this site is the Picture Gallery, which is where I put together a collection of pictures and paintings I found during my research that I felt would be interesting for you to see. Throughout the literary and historical papers I included some of the pictures featured in the Gallery, if you would like to know exactly what they are, you can click on them in order to get the information I obtained on them. After you have read the information you can click on the "Back" button on your navigation bar to return to the paper.
Below are some descriptions on some of the images you will encounter througout the webpage:
= This will take you back to the main page and it is usually in the bottom of the page.Hope you enjoy the webpage! Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions or comments.
= This will allow you to send me an e-mail and it is usually in the bottom of the page.
= Go to the previous picture [I only use this image in the Picture Gallery]
= Go to the next picture [I only use this image in the Picture Gallery]