In message <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>, girlsown-
>It would be tempting to suggest that the ill health suffered by the mothers 
>of so many GO heroines resulted from married womenâs confinement to the 
>role of homemaker and their lack of independent means. Such a case does not 
>stand up. Many GO mothers seem happy enough 

But of course they aren't real women; illness, as you rightly suggest,
is a device of the author's.  

Barbara, I assume you mean by this that the authors don't suggest that
illness is the result of oppression.  But in a way they do, because the
alternative in eg Oxenham is bracing physical activity, girlish
togetherness, and breeziness, which were all novel values, vaguely
associated with being a new girl, if not a New Woman.  Lying around on
sofas stops being heroic and self-sacrificing and becomes selfish and
manipulative.  True Mothers conceal their illnesses until they finally
keel over while doing the mending.  

PS I really want to mention the Merediths in Rainbow Valley here, where
not having a mother is to be completley unsocialised.  

>The one constant is that most girls love their 
>mothers, however inadequate they may be, and that the fear of loss of a 
>parent is one of childhoodâs greatest dreads.

Indeed, but arguably there's a subtle aggressiveness about the constant
fantasies of mum expiring which couldn't find a more legitimate outlet.  

Isn't it also a notion of making the character more valuable to the

And also a representation - as you very rightly suggest - of maternal
selflessness - Mum works herself to death?  So inducing pangs of reader-
Diane Purkiss
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