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Tracing Maternal Filicide as a Manifestation of Maternal Ambivalence in Nayomi Munaweera’s What Lies Between Us


  The institution of Motherhood, as propagated by traditional philosophical discourse, has been challenged by feminist scholars during the last few decades. This research article carries out a thematic analysis of the selected work of contemporary fiction using Sarah LaChance Adams’ theory of Maternal Ambivalence. The research engages with Nayomi Munaweera’s What Lies Between Us, which depicts maternal filicide, analyzing how these narratives lead to the construction of cultural perceptions of motherhood, as well as the reigning societal expectations of mothers. By examining fictional accounts, the paper explores the symbolic and metaphorical representations of maternal filicide in literature, uncovering the deeper psychological and socio-cultural implications embedded within the text. Drawing on theories from motherhood studies using Brown and Clarke’s model of textual analysis, the paper investigates the interplay of power in the patriarchy as well as the existence of maternal identity in the status quo, thus illustrating how literary representations of maternal filicide contribute to broader discourses on women's roles and societal norms. It critically examines how the author navigates the labyrinth of maternal emotions, societal pressures, and mental health crises through their narrative, offering insights into the ways literature both reflects and challenges prevailing cultural ideologies. It engages with the normative perception of motherhood and challenges it by providing evidence from the fiction under study, proving that a mother is a flawed human, who when overridden by her ambivalence, can harm the child under her care.


Maternal, , Ambivalence, , Filicide, , Normative, , Motherhood



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