n Mousaion - Where is the mother in all this? Representations of mothers and mothering in popular Australian and South African books for young adults

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



Australia and South Africa share a general concern with the family and its importance in the social structure. In both Australian and South African books for young adults, mothers have always been important characters, and discourses on mothers and mothering occur frequently. A study of a selection of books, chosen for the importance of the mother as a character, will demonstrate how persistent a number of these constructions of mothers are, notwithstanding societal changes and despite societal and cultural differences in the two countries. As literature is one of the ways in which society instructs children, informs and shapes societal attitudes, and reflects changes in those attitudes, such a study thus illustrates society's ongoing anxieties about motherhood and a perceived need to socialise each generation into a particular view of 'mother'.

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