The Overbearing Mother
This chapter explores the figure of the overbearing mother, with Gypsy as the example par excellence. It is a necessary exploration into the ways in which common stereotypes intersect with feminist literary theory. We see this in the fantasized mother/son relationship in Next to Normal as a mechanism for coping with her perception of her failure as a mother. Matilda and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are comedic examples of the overbearing mother figure, whose children give voice to their detrimental presence. Spring Awakening also offers this figure to audiences in the form of Wendla’s mother, whose strict conservativism leads to her daughter’s demise in the guise of maternal protection.