As my friend Kelly Ruth pointed out as I solicited extra moms for this list, Mrs Bennet is a nightmare of a mother, so perhaps I was really looking for mothers of great fiction. Any way you slice it, these matriarchs are solid characters who influence their children — and us — for the long haul.
Fiction, like Disney movies, is short on big mother figures. There are a lot of orphans (Boxcar Children, Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, the kids in the Lion, Witch, Wardrobe series) or motherless children (Jem and Scout, Nancy Drew). Perhaps it’s because having a mother figure around stifles the antics of otherwise adventurous, impetuous children. I think a lot of children’s literature, especially, thrives on what happens to children when adults aren’t around. They get into trouble, they make mistakes, they have triumphs, they grow, they learn, they get dirty. Parents, and mothers in particular, can stand in the way and apparently prevent the plot from flowing freely.
But here’s a list of mothers of great fiction/great mothers of fiction. Surely one is more memorable or lovable to you than the others. In honor of Mother’s Day, pick one!