Research project Contemporary literature, film and television is full of references to dead or absent mothers. They may be dead before the story starts, or they die during it. This project asks the question why mother has to die in order for a story to be complete.
This projectet traces the motif of the dead or absent mother from contemporary novels, films and television programmes back through earlier novels, plays, folktales, myths and legends. In these texts the dead/absent mother is always presented in one of two ways: either as dangerous to her child in one way or another, or as irrelevant and easily replaced, by the father or a father substitute. Regardless of which version is used, the mother is removed and the father is privileged.