The Lost Daughter Themes & Motifs

Elena Ferrante
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Mothers and daughters

Through The Lost Daughter’s central motif – relationships between mothers and daughters – Ferrante uses the primary example of Leda and her experience as a daughter and a mother to probe the difficult terrain of a mother who feel diminished rather than enlarged by motherhood and how Leda's angst radiates both outward and inward, to hurt those around her as well as herself.

Leda as narrator explores her relationship with her mother and her two daughters, observes and interprets the mother-daughter bond of Nina and Elena, watches Elena play at mothering her doll, and contemplates the future relationship of the pregnant Rosaria with her child, presumably a daughter. Leda’s life has been shaped by her mother’s constant threats of leaving her children, and she has played out her mother’s threat in her relationships with her own daughters.

Leda sees this primary relationship...

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This section contains 2,246 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Lost Daughter Study Guide
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