A Girl Returned Themes & Motifs

Donatella Di Pietrantonio
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Mothers and Daughters

The narrator's experience of being adopted as an infant and then given up by her adoptive parents and returned to her birth family at 13-years-old causes her to question the nature of motherhood and what it means to be a mother and daughter. The narrator has two mothers and yet she feels like an orphan. This suggests that motherhood is more than a title or a familial connection. True motherhood and a healthy mother/daughter connection are about the relationship between those individuals. Abandonment, neglect, and abuse (both physical and emotional) make that meaningful connection impossible, leaving the narrator emotionally if not literally orphaned. The absence of effectual or impactful fathers in the book places the emphasis on the importance of the mother/daughter relationship even more strongly. The narrator's experience of being abandoned and mistreated by both her mothers not only causes her...

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This section contains 2,300 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Girl Returned Study Guide
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