The Rape of your Daughter

From the moment a mother finds out she is pregnant, a protective instinct takes over. From that day on her only job is to make sure her children are safe from harm. When a mother finds out that her daughter has been raped, it breaks that mother’s heart. It makes her question her abilities as a mother, and regret every moment that she gave her daughter freedom to allow this horrible event to occur.

In Brecht’s play, Mother Courage and her Children, this is the complete opposite. Brecht provides us with a mother that every child would never dream of having. Her only concern is making a living from the war. Through out the play all three of her children die, but that does not matter because she has to keep working.

In act six, Mother Courage sends her daughter Kattrin to town with the Regimental Secretary to pick up a package from the Golden Lion. As Kattrin is leaving, Mother Courage tells her, “most everyone’s at the Field Marshall’s funeral, nothing can happen to you. Hang tight to the package,” (65). When Kattrin returns, Mother Courage notices a cut on her forehead and eye. Although it appears that Kattrin has been raped and beat up, she is still bringing the supplies for her mother. After Mother Courage bandages up Kattrin’s face, she gives her Yvette’s red shoes and say’s, “No husband for her now,” (70). Even after she finds her daughter in such a horrible condition Mother Courage still says, “War! A great way to make a living,” (69).

Through this scene you are able to realize that Mother Courage is not the mother most girls would desire. I know that if I got raped, I would not want Mother Courage to be by my side. As mentioned in Professor Newman’s lecture, the goal of epic theater is to interrupt our pity by de-naturalizing the dramatic event going on on stage. Through epic theater, Brecht does not allow us to have sympathy on Kattrin, but instead makes us question Mother Courage’s place as a mother.

Even though this war has just caused her daughter great pain, Mother Courage still loves this war because its “a great way to make a living.” I know for sure that my mom would immediately drop her business and move our family as far away form the war as possible. This is because the main role of a mother is to make sure her children are safe, and then to have a successful business in order to provide for the children.

In act three Kattrin had put on Yvette’s shoes and hat. Yvette was the hooker for the army. Mother Courage immediately takes off the hat and told her, “ You want them stumbling across you and making you their whore?” (36).  Now that Kattrin has been raped, Mother Courage gives Kattrin the shoes that she had once forbade her to wear. Although it may look like she did this to try to make her feel better, it may also be that now her mother thinks she should be a hooker since she is no longer a ‘lady.’ This also takes away her dream of her daughter marrying someone some day.

As you can see, Mother Courage does not feel that bad for her daughter. Her main concern is making money during the war. Brecht gives us this example of a horrible mother to teach other mother’s not to be like her. He is telling them that instead of worrying about making money, they should always have their children as their first priority.


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