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Comparative Study: "a Taste of Honey" and "a Mother's Fondness"

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Mother-daughter relationships are very special, because there is a unique bond, bound by unconditional love that is only present between mothers and daughters. Because of this strong bond, other problems occur with it that can be disruptive and problematic. "A Taste of Honey", by Shelagh Delany, and "A Mother's Fondness", by Marion. R. Stewart are both texts about mother-daughter relationships. "A Taste of Honey", is a play about a very distant relationship between Helen a semi-whore, and her daughter Jo, a school girl. "A Mother's Fondness" is a short story also about a relationship between Cathie and her mother, which is also distant, and uncommunicative.

Cathie is her mother's number one priority and would do anything for her:

"My stomach turned, I felt hungry but could not eat, tired but could not sleep,

tormented by my imagination."

This is typical of parents as they always think that their child is hurt or lost, because it is natural instinct to protect their child, so when they cannot they believe that something horrific has happened because they need to protect their child. This is shown by "tormented by my imagination", because she is imagining that her child has been traumatised or undergone something horrific. This also shows that she cares for and loves her child as she is suffering from physical effects; telling us that it has affected her very much.

Helen on the other hand in "A Taste of Honey" is very selfish and therefore puts herself and others ahead of Jo:

"JO: You leave me alone. And eave my mother alone too.

(Helen enters)

PETER: Get away! For God's sake go and...

HELEN: Leave him alone Jo. He can't be bothered with you.

Got a cigarette, Peter? Did you get yourself a drink?

"Jo: You leave me alone. And leave my mother alone too." is very significant and important because it shows that Jo loves her mother and wants to protect her. This makes Helen's reactions to Jo very shocking because Jo's love and care for her mother is not recipicated by Helen. Helen's reactions are also very shocking because she puts Peter her boyfriend before Jo, and finds the need to protect him instead of Jo which is shocking because it is not maternal instinct unlike Cathie's mother.

Helen's reactions would be very hurtful to Jo because she obviously loves her mother and it would hurt her to find out or realise that her mother does not love her, and her reactions to this would be to turn away or look away or get up and walk away because she would not be able to be near peter or Helen because of her betrayal. This would make the audience sympathise with her.

Helen and Cathie's mother are very different because Cathie's mother prioritises her daughter and puts her first which shows she is selfless and loves her daughter. Helen, however, is very selfish and puts her boyfriend/husband first which shows that she does not care for or love Jo.

In "A Mother's Fondness" Cathie's mother loves her daughter desperately and would be heartbroken if anything happened to her:

"I phoned them all but no one knew and said they'd phone back

if they found out where she is",

"I phoned them all", is the key phrase in this quote because it shows that Cathie's mother knows where her daughter is, showing that she takes an interest in her life. This phrase also shows her desperation, showing that she loves her daughter.

Helen however in "A Taste of Honey" is very selfish and thoughtless of her daughter as she is unconcerned about her:

"GEOF: She won't go out anywhere, not even for a walk and a bit of

fresh air. That's why I came to you.

HELEN: And what do you think I can do it? In any case",

"That's why I came to you", is very important because Geof had to go to Helen and ask her to come. This shows that she is not concerned about Jo, and does not really care for her welfare. Helen would also maybe shrug her shoulders and look away to show that she really is not bothered. The audience at this stage would also perhaps feel sorry and hurt for Jo, and respectful of Geof because "That's why I came to you" also shows that he cares enough for Jo to ask her mother round.

Here Helen and Cathie's mother are opposite because Cathie's mother really cares for her daughter, shown by her concern and desperation. Helen, on the other hand, does not really have much concern for her daughter, nor does she really care what happens to her, and this is where the difference is.

Cathie's mother knows quite a lot about her daughter and takes a lot of interest in her daughter's life which is shown by:

"There was a girl she was friendly with who lived in a

House on the way to town. She hadn't had a phone

So I went to the door."

This whole quote is effective because it shows that the mother is aware of her daughter's life. This is proven as, Cathie's mother knows about her daughter's friends and where they live, showing she has a keen interest in her daughter.

In contrast, Helen does not appear to "know" her daughter:

"HELEN: I thought you said you weren't

Good at anything.

JO: It's only a drawing",

The line said by Helen is very important because it shows that she doesn't know a lot about her daughter, as she should know that her daughter is interested in Art. This also indicates neglect because it suggests that Helen has not been paying enough attention to Jo, or been in her life enough. When Jo receives her line she may cover her face or look away in embarrassment as her mother is probably seeing her work for the first time. This would also have a great impact on the audience because they would be finding about Jo's talent at the same



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