Research Article

The Voice of Silent Toxic Mothers in Morrison’s A Mercy and Albeshr’s Hend and the Soldiers



This paper analytically compares Morrison’s A Mercy (2008) to Albeshr’s Hend and the Soldiers (2006) to explore the maternal position in Western and Middle Eastern literatures and give the silent mothers voice. These novels depict rudimentary social systems predicated on deep inequalities of class and gender; they highlight the commonality of mothers’ experiences regardless of their class, race, or nationality. In A Mercy, the black mother discards her daughter to protect her from a malevolent master, while in Hend and the Soldiers, the uneducated Arab mother arranges her daughter’s marriage to free her from the domination of the patriarchal society. The daughters consider their mothers as toxic parents and relate all evil in their lives to them. These novels are narrated mainly from a daughter point of view, and they share the themes of the disintegrated mother-daughter relationship and search for identity. This type of narration foregrounds the daughterly perspectives and subordinates the maternal voice (Hirsch, 1989, p. 163). Applying the elements presented in Marianne Hirsch’s Mother/Daughter Plot facilitates the deconstruction of the idea of silent toxic mothers and gives mothers the opportunity to speak for themselves. According to Hirsch, when daughters become mature enough to accept their problems and failures, they become not only real women but also part of their mothers’ stories by listening carefully. Thus, I argue that mothers’ voices are heard when their subjectivity is explored through their stories narrated in their daughters’ memories, in the mothers’ self-vindication, and by surrogate mothers.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

5 (1)





How to Cite

Aldeeb, N. R. (2022). The Voice of Silent Toxic Mothers in Morrison’s A Mercy and Albeshr’s Hend and the Soldiers. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 5(1), 10–17.



Daughterly perspectives, Identity, Maternal voice, Patriarchal society, Subjectivity