A Mother and Two Daughters Summary
Gail Godwin

Everything you need to understand or teach A Mother and Two Daughters by Gail Godwin.

  • A Mother and Two Daughters Summary & Study Guide

A Mother and Two Daughters Summary

A Mother and Two Daughters differs from Godwin's earlier, and less popular, works in that creativity and artistry are not dominant themes. The average reader can identify with all the main characters, even the intellectual Cate.

The novel does not "announce" its themes as openly as The Odd Woman (1974) or Violet Clay (1978); hence, it is less self-consciously literary and can be read for enjoyment rather than analysis.

The straightforward title points to the themes of family and of comparison of the women's goals and lives.

The abrasive Cate seems destined to rebel forever against family, commitment, or any sort of confinement. She cannot even get along with her deceptively gentle sister, Lydia. Late in the book, the building tension between the sisters explodes into a (literally) fiery confrontation, but then the book relaxes into a glowing, heartwarming family reconciliation which is entirely convincing and seems to express a...

(read more from the Short Guide)

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