THE UNNATURAL MOTHER
This paper shows the effects of third-person narration used by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, in her short story. “The Unnatural Mother.” The third person narrator is like an eyewitness to occurrences of a story.
In the story, Ms. Briggs is the narrator. The story begins where Esther passes leaving a child. Ms. Briggs explains why Esther is an unnatural mother. The narration limits us to her feelings and thoughts. From the narration, we cannot tell what Esther had in mind nor can we tell her feelings.
In this story, the narrator gives me an impression that the mother was bad and that she did wrong by leaving her baby behind while she went to warn the town. Ms. Briggs statement ‘No mother that is a mother would desert her child for anything on earth’ shows that she is contemptuous and detests the action that the mother took. The third person point of view in this story is reliable. The narrator is not involved in the story and thus openly explains what she feels about the story. Using the third person point of view does not give us a chance to know what all characters especially Esther have in mind nor can we tell their feelings unlike where there is the use of the first person point of view. Use of the first person point of view will alter the meaning of this short story.
The main theme of Esther being an unnatural mother by neglecting her child in the name of saving the town will change. If Esther narrated the story, we would get an impression that the role of taking care of the town is not only the responsibility of men but also women. ‘Don’t any of you seem to think what she did for all of us – if she hadn’t left hers we should have lost ours, sure?’
Gilman, C. P. (1913). The unnatural mother.The Charlotte Perkins Gilman Reader, …