In the first read of the poem, I felt it flowed nicely because of the rhyme scheme in the first stanza, with every two line rhyming with each other. I have been reading many poems without a rhyme scheme which bore me so with this poem having one, I enjoyed it. But a poem which has too many rhymes, is also a boring one, but the entire second stanza had a varied rhyme scheme which avoided this problem.
Another interesting things was that in the first stanza, she seems to be talking to someone, but in the second stanza she is talking in the first person. This is a very interesting structure which is unique, one that I have never seen before.
Another reason why I chose this poem, is because I am against abortion and this poem supports that view.
Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem, The Mother, narrates to us the feeling of pain and regret of a mother who has had an abortion. This poem is a ballad with an apostrophe, between the mother talking to her dead child. The child did not even have a chance to live and this is the main feeling of regret felt by the mother. She stripped the child’s life and this feeling cannot be forgotten by anyone.
The poem is structured in a very unique manner, as in the first stanza, it is written as the mother is talking to herself. “Abortions will not let you forget.” This makes it seem as if she is having an inner conflict with herself, proving that she might have had an abortion and feeling remorse for having it, losing the children she could have had, whereas the second stanza is written in the first person, which is unusual for a poem. In this stanza, she is confessing to her unborn child, of all the things that they lost. The pace is quicker in this stanza as enjambment is frequently used. This device also increases the effect of the dark tone, as her feelings flow more and are continuous.
The poem is ambiguous as it may be about whether the mother is giving a painful assertion of guilt towards her lost child, or is emphasising the harmful effects of having an abortion in general. The poet has to be familiar to abortion to be able to express such raw emotions. When first looking at the title, we assume that this poem is about a mother and her boundless love for her children. After reading the second line, “Abortions will not let you forget”, our impression changes as soon as we feel the negative tone. Abortions symbolise death, death without even starting a life. The poem might seem that it is about the negative effects of having an abortion, but it is actually about the guilt of a mother who has had an abortion.
The overall tone of the poem is very dark and negative. This tone helps to emphasise the dreadfulness of abortion as in this poem, it is expressed as murder, which can be seen in the entire second stanza. “dim killed children”, “contracted”. The entire second stanza places an image of death in the readers mind and this feeling is amplified as not only is it about death, but the death of an unborn child. She goes on to explain what was lost between the child and the mother throughout the stanza. “…breasts they could never suck.” Breast-feeding is a feeling experienced by both mothers and their child as it bonds them together and creates love. Without love, a mother feels empty and this is the same feeling felt by Brooks. She knows this and is trying to forget about the abortion, “I have eased.” But she is in denial. The child constantly haunts her and she realises what she took away from it.
The theme of the poem is conveyed with a number of literary devices, the main one being imagery. The poems theme is abortion and Brooks is conveying the negative effects of it. Therefore she is creating an image in the readers mind of death and sadness, the feelings that a mother who had an abortion is feeling. “I have heard in the voices of the wind, the voices of my dim killed children.” This shows that the dead child haunts the mother which creates a feel of terror and fear to the reader. The mother cannot escape the haunting child and tries to reason with it. “Since anyhow you are dead.” The mother is attempting to euphemise this by saying “You were never made”. “If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths.” This line adds to the negative tone and suggests that she is talking to more than one child. She might have had more than one abortion. This raises the reader’s curiosity as we want to know why she had them multiple times, but still is against abortions.
The feeling of regret is the most powerful feeling among the many which the reader has. “If I stole your births and your names, Your straight baby tears and your games, Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths.” This sums up the regret as it shows the many things which were robbed of the children by the mother. Refrain is used to quicken the pace and show the many things taken away from them.
With the use of these literary features, the reader, be male or female, is able to understand the pain which is felt by mothers who have lost their child. Brooks is attempting to magnify small things that babies do, into an irreplaceable feeling experienced by all mothers. This is a very controversial topic and Brooks is trying to convey this to all mothers, through the entire array of negative emotions throughout the poem, otherwise it will haunt them for the rest of their life. Brooks successfully showed that by having an abortion, you not only kill a child, but also a part of yourself as well.
Maybe she had abortion as she didn’t have cash to support one
So she doesn’t want it to suffer