MOTHERHOOD – OPPRESSION AND DELIGHT
The ambivalence in maternal experience and attitude is reflected in a variety of poems, which focus on the theme of motherhood. Imtiaz Darker’s poem “Zarina’s Mother,” reflects Marxist Feminism in an even more powerful way. The poem depicts an elite woman who is also a mother, watching another mother who is poor, has four children and facing poverty and related hardships in life. The speaker becomes aware of the gap between her own experience and that of a mother living in the slums. From being a distant onlooker at the misery of poverty, the speaker moves from guilt to pity, and feels a sense of identification with the other mother.The opening lines of the poem correct the prejudice of having judged as callous numbness a mother’s fortitude towards the fatal illness of her daughter ‘Zarina’. As she observes;
It’s not that Zarina’s mother is callous – more that she is preoccupied.
There are so many things to do.
Just living is hard enough, when you have four children, a drunken husband, and a clawing hunger tearing you inside. (l...1-7)
Initially the elite mother is intrigued at the callousness of the mother from the slums. But as the predicament of the poverty stricken mother becomes clear to her, she empathies with Zarina and her mother, and perhaps experiences a sense of identification with the other mother, because she is herself a mother and can understand the emotions and limitations of a helpless mother .