Compare and contrast the mother-daughter relationship in 'A Taste Of Honey' by Shelagh Delaney and 'A Mother's Fondness' by Marion Rachel Stewart.

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Drama – Comparative Study post 1900                                                        Coursework

Title: Compare and contrast the mother-daughter relationship in ‘A Taste Of Honey’ by Shelagh Delaney and ‘A Mother’s Fondness’ by Marion Rachel Stewart.

No relationship is quite as primal as the one between a mother and her daughter. Mother-daughter relationships in general are characterised by a unique bond; formed and developed from conception. As a young child your mother is an angel. You cover your face with her lipstick and model her high heels wanting to be just like her. This continues to be the case until you’re about thirteen-experiencing all sorts of changes in your life. Suddenly you feel your mother becomes ignorant of your feelings, abrasive and protective of you. For the next 5 years or so you’re prime form of communication will be through the word “ Moooooommmmmmm!” Then, during your twenties/thirties ‘Mommy’ becomes a daughter’s best friend again. However, this is not always the case and though many mother-daughter relationships are the similar, they all differ in some way. I will be analysing ‘A Taste of Honey’ and ‘A Mother’s Fondness’ in order to determine these similar and contrasting aspects.

 ‘A Mother’s Fondness’ by Marion Rachel Stewart is a contemporary short story involving a mother and her daughter, Cathie. The issues in their relationship are highlighted when Cathie makes her way home much later than her mother expected. The text is divided into two sections: ‘The Mother’ and ‘The Daughter’. Each section reveals their contrasting views and feelings about the situation, and the present nature of their relationship.

‘A Taste Of Honey’ by Shelagh Delaney is set in the 1950’s. A time when Britain was recovering from the shortages and rationing that were the aftermath of the war, and when issues such as homophobia and racism were at an all time high. This theatre production shows how single parent Helen copes with living in a small flat in a poor area in Manchester, alongside her teenaged daughter Jo.

After reading each text, it was evident that the mothers are very different; therefore approaching motherhood dissimilarly. Helen likes to enjoy life, doing things her own way, even at the expense of her daughter’s happiness. She comes across in the play as a careless woman; never able to locate her hat or shoes, and doesn’t think. Her daughter rightly says “You never think. That’s your trouble” (Pg43). At one point in the play, Jo explained that she was not sulking but thinking. Helen replied, “Well, don’t think. It doesn’t do you any good” (Pg44). This strong opinion explains her mismanagement of her own life and relationship with her daughter. In “A Mother’s Fondness” however, the Mother is more than willing and able to think logically about how to locate and ensure her daughters safety. Her level of thought upon the matter is so intense that she begins to experience physical, emotional and mental signs of anxiety, due to worry of Cathie’s whereabouts.

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        “…I felt hungry but could not eat, tired but could not sleep, tormented by my imagination. ” She also “…started to cry…” and described:  “It was hard to speak as the cries of pain echoed through my head.”

Another difference is the fact that each mother and daughter hurt each other in different ways. It is the mother’s unconditional love for her daughter in ‘A Mother’s Fondness’ that eventually jeopardises their relationship. As shown in the previous paragraph, Cathie’s mother cares considerably for her; it is this care and love that silences her anger in a desperate bid not to hurt ...

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