LitStaff Pick: Our Favorite Fictional Mothers

Mrs. Bennetmrs benet
Pride and Prejudice
By Jane Austen

I should amend this selection. Mrs. Bennet is not what I would refer to as “my favorite” type of fictional mother. Choosing her, I think, comes from a place of eventual understanding. For a very long time, I did not appreciate or truly enjoy Austen’s novels simply because I could not understand the world she wrote about. I am sure this stems from an abhorrence to sexism and the idea that women of Mrs. Bennet’s time had very little choice in the lives they led.

It wasn’t, in fact, until I read Persuasion, Austen’s last novel, that I really understood these women. Further appreciation came when I researched the novelist’s life and saw that she, unlike the majority of her heroines, led the life she wanted.

So Mrs. Bennet, for all her flaws, did what any good mother would do in her circumstance: she made certain that her daughters were taken care of. That, along with a wide array of endless, thankless tasks, is what all good mothers are meant to do.

—Morgan Nelson,
Guest Contributor