That Kind of Mother Themes & Motifs

Rumaan Alam
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Race

Alam employs Rebecca’s inability to understand black people to convey how blackness connotes otherness. Rebecca admits that Priscilla’s racial difference renders her mysterious and therefore other: “Rebecca worried about her tendency to think of Priscilla as some impossible-to-solve mystery: at worst, it was some misguided sense that her blackness rendered her other, instead of human” (62). Rebecca acknowledges that she allows Priscilla’s blackness to separate them. This distance prevents Rebecca from understanding Priscilla or any other black people she interacts with throughout the novel.

When Cheryl learns of Rebecca’s divorce from Christopher, she reveals that she and Ian also experience martial problems. Rebecca reacts with sincere shock, saying, “I guess I think of you two as having the best marriage. That kind of perfect marriage” (196). Cheryl and Ian’s race inhibits Rebecca from recognizing their similarities to her. Rebecca assumes that the blackness...

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This section contains 2,273 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the That Kind of Mother Study Guide
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