The Mother

Tue 03 July 2012 by Thejaswi Puthraya

A mother's love for her children knows no bounds and Maxim Gorky's "The Mother" is a masterpiece in this regard.

Vlasov has seen his father's life snuffed out by the factory and like thousands of other workers is staring down the same fate. One day, he comes back home with a few books and becomes a transformed person filled with confidence after reading them. He builds a close group of socialists and plans to create awareness about worker rights and worker revolutions outside Russia.

Vlasov's mother, Nilovna, is an uneducated and god fearing woman who was married off early and faced brutalities at the hand of her drunken husband. She is anxious about her son's radical thinking and like many other mothers prefers to see him settled. Slowly, she starts understanding the importance of socialism by overhearing her son and his comrades' meetings. Her skepticism and innocent questions regarding their future plans and their guarded answers worry her immensely.

She develops a respect for her son after his arrest while leading a peaceful protest of workers. After this, she is overwhelmed by the compassion of the workers towards her owing to her son's sacrifice. Her love for her son and all that he stood for leads her into taking up his incomplete work of bringing about a workers revolution. Whether her plans pay off and she is reunited with her son forms the rest of the story.

I was surprised to learn that this book was originally written in English and it has a fantastic style. The main emphasis of the book is on the mother and son relation and socialism receives little coverage and so you can read the book without the fear of philosophical overdose.