Nearly everyone growing up is brought up by two parents. Some people on the other hand, after a divorce, death or some other circumstance are raised with only one parent. Most commonly in these settings the child/children live with the mother. Growing up with a single mother can bring two dissimilar situations, one being an independent strong mother depending only on herself, the other being one searching for a man to help her out in life with parenting. The main difference between these two situations is that one mother is by herself, while the other is looking for someone else. Which situation is better is arguable; but, in general, a mother trying to find someone else usually leads to a higher degree of emotional problems then that of the independent mother.
I find that these images of a good mother reflect upon the stories of two women, "Ceil" by Harold Brodkey in which the mother raises a child by herself without the help from anyone else and "The Mother" by Natalia Ginzburg in which the mother has two children that has her family help as she searched for someone to help her. Both ended up dieing in tragic ways. In one ending the mother is glorified, while the other tires to imagine that the mother never existed. They equally demonstrate real world possibilities that could happen in everyday life. Together they show us how the person who gave us life could be praised while the other seen as a disgrace.
In "Ceil" by Harold Brodkey the life of the main character (Ceil) is told through various accounts of people who knew her. These accounts are told to her son, Wiley, who was only two when his mother died. Through the people who speak to Wiley, it is clearly visible that Ceil is a very strong, unique and independent mother. The reader learns while growing up in Russia, Ceil was a survivor of both world wars and was rebel against authority that tried to hold her back from what she wanted do.