The poem “The Mother” by Gwendolyn Brooks on the outside is about an abortion but when you look deeper it is about a mother grieving about her abortion. The poem at first starts talking about how an abortion works and about what an abortion is. It later on has a turning point in which the author/speaker starts explaining how she had an abortion. She shows it by adding a lot of her emotions. Meanwhile reading this poem, a lot of questions rose. Some were: Why would a mother abort her child? What is better? Killing or giving away your child? And Is an abortion really what she wanted? Out of all of these questions the biggest one was can time heal an abortion?
          “The mother” starts out with this line which basically summarizes what this poem is mostly going to be about by saying “Abortions will not let you forget”. The line after this one basically explains how mothers who aborted remember the children that they aborted. My comment for this line was An abortion is a decision you could make and it causes one life to be taken.An abortion is when a mother chooses to kill her unborn child. This is the starting sentence and my first impression of this was that this poem is going to be about an abortion. It makes me interested in the poem. My big question was, can time heal an abortion and the poem’s answer to this question is No.
My first impression of this poem was that it was about a mother. When I read the first line I noticed that it was a sentimental poem.  It made me feel troubled yet, at the same time, curious. A line that especially troubled me was, “Believe me, I love you all” I felt troubled because a mother aborted her children and is now feeling guilty, saying that even if she didn’t get to meet her children, she loved them. The other feeling – of curiosity – aroused when I read the line, “Abortions will not let you forget”.  I was curious to know how an author would write about such a loaded topic.What I know about the situation – what’s happening in the poem – is that by the way this poem is written it is about a mother’s feelings after going through an abortion more than once. What I know about the speaker is that they are the kind of person who is feeling guilt for going through an abortion more than once.  This is suggested by line 11-12 “I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children”. The speaker seems to be speaking to the audience and perhaps to indicate that she is regretting the abortions she made and is now hearing her lost children’s voices. I say this because the words “the voices of my dim killed children”. The poem springs from a particular historical moment in the speakers life when she aborted her child.  The poem revolves around several themes, including regret and pain.
              If this poem were a question, the answer would be that abortion is something you can’t forget and would forever feel the pain.  If it were an answer, the question would be how does an abortion affect a woman’s life. The title suggests that the poem is from a mother’s point of view. The title suggests this because it’s called the mother which means that it is going to be about a mother. While reading the poem I realized that my prediction is correct and that the speaker is a mother who is grieving for the children she decided to abort. She is talking about her own experience with abortion and how it affected her life which answers the question, how does abortion affect a woman’s life. One way I know that the speaker is a mother is because they use the pronoun I. For example in stanza 2 line 2 it states “I have contracted. I have eased.” This is showing that the speaker is a mother because she is explaining how she has felt the pain and she knows how an abortion feels like. It also shows how the mother is explaining the pain she felt in her life because of her abortion. She is expressing that an abortion is unforgettable and that it affects a woman’s life.
             The poem’s form is Elegy.  This form is a vehicle for the content of the poem.  If the poem were a concessional turn, it would not guide me toward an understanding of the poem’s meaning.  This form relates to the poem because it talks about the death of the speaker’s children. This poem starts out at a sad poem because it is explaining what an abortion is and how it happens. Later on the poem takes on a darker turn because the speaker who is a mother is grieving about how she decided to abort her children. In the poem it states”Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children.” This is where the poem turns from sad to even more sad and grief. This is what you call the turning point. This poem’s form is Elegy because it went from grief to greater grief.
While reading the poem the reader could observe it and later on realize that the poem is actually about the speaker explaining how she regrets having an abortion. She is explaining this by using diction which is the use of specific word choice. While reading about this poem, many people said that her diction was influenced by her lifestyle. On Quora someone with the name of Ekeoma said “Her environment and lifestyle instigated her diction.” This statement turns out to be true and her dicton explains her emotions.  For example some of the words the speaker used makes the poem have more meaning and emotions. One of the words she uses to show her emotions is the word stole which is found in stanza 4 sentence 8 “If I stole your births and your names,”. She uses the word stole which is basically meaning that she feels as if she were a robber. She is saying that she stole her children’s lives and identities by aborting them. She feels guilt for aborting and she feels like she stole her children’s decision. The decision to live. She feels guilt for this because this decision shouldn’t have been hers, instead it should have been her children’s. Another way that she uses diction to show her emotions in a hidden way, meaning that she is hiding how she feels but giving hints is by using the word poisoned. She uses this word in stanza 4 sentence 11 “If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths.” The definition of poisoned is when someone accidentally or deliberately contaminates something. Due to this definition and the way the speaker uses this word the speaker basically feels like she ruined something special. Also she uses paradox to express that she can’t forget what she did. For example while looking at some of the analysis of the “the mother” a student named Rukhaya noticed that Gwendolyn Brooks decided to use paradox to show how the speaker feels. The speaker uses paradox when she says “you remember the children that you did not get.” Rukhaya says “The word ’get’ may also function as a condensed form of ‘beget’. The enjambments of lines serve to illustrate the continuity of guilt.” This turns out to be true as it proves that the speaker in this poem is feeling guilty. This also contributes to the question “Can time heal an Abortion?” by proving that after a long time the speaker still feels guilty for aborting.
This all goes back to the big question which is  “Can Time heal an Abortion?” This question is answered by the speaker explaining how she feels about her  abortion after time has gone by. This question is answered by the very first line which is “Abortions will not let you forget”. This statement means that the speaker is saying that as time goes by, you as a mother think about what you have done to your children and you start to regret it. Not only regret it but you won’t be able to forget the pain you feel for aborting. One way the speaker showed that she can’t forget about the abortion and isn’t healed after time is that in the end she wanted to express how she loves them. “Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you
All” this line is expressing how even after what she did to her children, she still loves them and she is showing a sign of regret. She feels guilt for aborting her child and she is now saying that she loves them and how she regrets doing what she did. In an analysis made,it says “It seems that she can’t get rid of her guilt; she can only confess and express her love for them, for partial relief.” She starts saying that she loved her children even if she aborted them. She is saying it out of guilt due to the fact that she couldn’t forget what she did after a long time. Also she is thinking about her children and is now wondering why she did it. This proves that time can’t heal an abortion and can only make you rethink what you did like this speaker.
The poem “the mother” answers the life question which is can time heal an abortion. The poem answers this question by using a personal life experience. For example “the mother” has a speaker who went through an abortion and the speaker is expressing how she feels about it. The answer the speaker gave us through the poem is no. She explains that after a long time an abortion will not let you forget. In other words, an abortion is unforgettable. The speaker uses a lot of word choice to show this and expresses how she feels about aborting through this poem. The poem “the mother” says no to the question, can time heal an abortion.



CC BY-SA 4.0 Can time heal an abortion? by Wendy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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