Between Maternity and Autonomy: Radical Mothering in Mona Simpson’s Anywhere but Here

Krishna, Swathi and Chatterjee, Srirupa (2022) Between Maternity and Autonomy: Radical Mothering in Mona Simpson’s Anywhere but Here. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 63 (2). pp. 232-246. ISSN 0011-1619

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This essay argues that Mona Simpson’s Anywhere but Here (1986) sustains a path breaking debate on maternity vis-à-vis female autonomy. It examines how in a narrative spatiotemporally located in America’s Midwest during the conservative eighties, the nurturing and selfless maternal figure of white middle-class Christian homes is replaced by a self-seeking maverick, Adele, who uncompromisingly embodies the hopes and aspirations of the contemporary everywoman. By underscoring how Adele rejects domesticity, rewrites male quest narratives, and survives her ambitious journeys with the help of the bond she shares with her daughter, Ann, this essay claims that Simpson’s fictional mother radically subverts all conventional caregiving practices. Further, by highlighting the seemingly conflicting discourses of maternity and autonomy which characterize Adele, this essay with the help of matricentric feminist theorists and post-Freudian psychoanalysts establishes that Anywhere but Here redefines not only the mother-child bond but also the maternal figure to engender a compelling narrative on women’s empowerment that resonates deeply with current conversations surrounding motherhood. © 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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IITH Creators:
IITH CreatorsORCiD
Chatterjee, Srirupa
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mona Simpson’s Anywhere but Here (1986), maternity vis-à-vis female autonomy.
Subjects: Social sciences
Arts > Liberal arts
Divisions: Department of Liberal Arts
Depositing User: . LibTrainee 2021
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2022 09:51
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2022 09:51
Publisher URL:
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