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The Image Of The Mother In The Work Of Hearn

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Chapter Summary

Motherhood is a topic in Lafcadio Hearn's discussions on human society, in his writings on insects (on mother ants) and in his fond descriptions of his cat. Hearn's own mother was Greek. And it is the context of nostalgic Hellenism that most helps one in understanding his treatment of mother images. Greek mother, then, and Japanese woman. This is a conjunction which has become familiar in recent writings on Hearn, and which can be justified in various ways. The novella Chita is about an adoptive mother. Mothers are associated by Hearn, very often, with death, particularly with the death of children. Mothers in general, Hearn thinks, share a feeling which links them to the past, to the dead thousands of generations of children that lie behind them. The feelings of mothers concerning death and absence call up, it seems, shared feelings in Hearn himself.

Keywords: Chita; Japanese woman; Lafcadio Hearn; motherhood; nostalgic Hellenism



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