Mothers and Quilts in Romance Novels

By Anne K. Kaler, PhD

Cinderella is to blame.

The romance genre started with the Cinderella story where the innocence and loneliness of the heroine, as well as her lack of a satisfactory mother or a female support group, hindered her success in life. That meant that the early heroine had to be rescued by the rich nobleman who knew what was best for her.

Still it is not all Cinderella’s fault entirely because she was deprived of a suitable mother-figure to mold her perception of herself.  Mothers, you see, are necessary mentors for the female hero. The irony of this is that Hera, the queen of the Greek Gods, gave her name to the original hero Hercules whose name means “one who does great deeds in the name of Hera.” The word “heroine” is a weakened form of “hero” suggesting something smaller and of less value. Take, for example, the difference between the words “actor” and “actress”, “waiter” and “waitress”, and “poet” and “poetess”. The feminine form of each word suggests lesser ability even though the work accomplished is the same (and for 25% less pay.) Continue reading “Mothers and Quilts in Romance Novels”