"The Mother" by Gwendolyn Brooks is a poem that deals with abortion. The mother, who is the speaker, is not, in fact, Gwendolyn Brooks. She is a woman who, as the text indicates, has had several abortions. The speaker is telling everyone this in order to elicit a .
response from the readers. The response that she is trying to get the readers to feel is compassion for her. Just by reading the poem, the reader can see through the speaker's tone of voice and word choice that she is trying to convey sorrow for her abortions. The question is whether or not the speaker is genuinely sorry for her actions. The answer lies in the hands of the readers. So do the readers of this poem believe that speaker?.
Many readers would use the speaker's word choice as a reason to believe that she is not sorry for having her abortions. In the first stanza, the speaker uses the phrase "handled the air," which is interesting because it, in a way, shifts the blame from the mother to the children, as if it was their responsibility to breathe(line 4). In the second stanza, the speaker uses the word "killed" as if she did it on purpose and really does not feel any remorse for her unborn(line 11). Also, when she uses the word "dim," as if to mean "not bright," she could be trying to make up an excuse to gain sympathy from the .
readers(line 14). In the second stanza she utters, "I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized/Your luck," which implies that she does not even know if abortion is murder(lines 15-16). This aids the claim that the speaker is not really sorry because she does not even believe what she did is wrong. At the end of the second stanza she, once again, tries to avoid the blame to a certain degree when she questions whether she should, "Whine that the crime was other than mine?"(line 25) Also, is she really whining, as to say that she did not know that abortion was actually taking a human life? For a poem whose purpose is to show a mother's sorrow, it can be very confusing to see if she really feels regret.