Essay On Criticism About The Aged Mother

“The aged Mother” Literary Criticism

Unlike many numerous literary criticism approaches, new criticism centers its criticism content, primarily on the text of the literary work in question. Precisely, this includes various elements of the text, such as the setting of the text, the plot, structure, and the themes, among many others. This being said, this essay gives a new criticism approach of the story “The Aged Mother” by Matsuo Basho.

Basho’s story, “The aged Mother” essentially banks on the theme of motherly love which is extensively developed in the characters’ situation where the Daimio of Shinano proclaimed a new law that ordered his subjects to put all the elderly people to death. However, the main character, a young farmer who lived with his mother at the foot of the mountain, deeply loved his mother and he, therefore, could not stand killing his own mother. As a result, he decided to carry his weak and elderly mother up the mountain where he would accord her a cordial death other than killing her. On their way up the mountain, the old woman realized how reckless her son was walking to the extent that he did not master all the mountain footpaths, meaning that he would get in great danger walking back home. Upon realizing this, the elderly mother’s heart grew anxious, and she stretched her arms ad began snapping twigs off the bushes on their way and silently dropped the twigs on the paths they passed, to serve as a guide for her son on his way back. Upon realizing the effort his elderly mother had put so as to help him get home, the farmer was overwhelmed by the love and carried his mother back home and hid her under a food closet.

Based on the story’s context, the love of a mother for his child is extensively developed. The events of the story highlight that a motherly love is a powerful thing that is not explainable by anybody. This is because it is based on pure sacrifice, endurance, pain, and devotion. For this reason, the story’s text substantiates the fact that based on the sacrifices a mother is always ready to make for the welfare of her child, her love is selfless and endless. 

Unique Literary Movement

In the same vein, the plot, setting and the characters used in this story substantiates the relevance and the effectiveness of Basho’s story. For instance, the setting of the story which is set in a place called Shinano, at the foot of the mountain significantly helps in the development of both the plot and the theme of the story. Additionally, the characters ranging from the protagonist, the young farmer, and his elderly mother, to the antagonist, Daimio, the despotic ruler, also help in the development of the depth of a mother’s love. In this regard, Daimio, ordered the killing of the elderly, something that sparked the young farmer’s love for his mother, who despite being weak and elderly, went out of her way to reach out for twigs which would help her son trace his path back home and also keep him out of danger.

Finally, the story’s text exemplifies realism as a unique literary movement. The situation and structure of the story had once happened in the history of Japan. However, unlike the Daimio’s rule to kill the elderly, this historical law required that the seniors be abandoned. Thus, in this context, the story’s text and structure views the once history of a particular country and also serves as a lesson to the young people about the profound love and wisdom of their mothers.