Mother in Trenches by Robert Olen Butler: My Review

“They cannot sleep for fear of the guns. They kill each other. My son was taken away to this kind of life.”

- From the Text.

The most signif i cant message of this story is how a mother feels about the war when her child dies as a soldier. She may appear patriotic and show that she’s strong but letting her child that she had seen growing in her arms die is the most painful sensation unimaginable to men. The story is so painful to read, every sentence hits like a rock.

I fi nd the contrast between off i cers -who were well dressed and had no hint of suffering- and soldiers who ate rats and lived in hellish conditions attractive. This is interesting how the highly paid off i cers are at the backhand in a war enjoying their lives while the less paid soldiers are placed at the front to die for the country. The feelings of a mother and her desire to carry her child Edward back home as if he was a baby since for the parent their children always remain, babies, even when they are grown, men and women. The most depressing part of the story is how she pretends to be a patriot before the off i cers while at heart, she knows this is a great folly of the men in charge.

The suffering of all mothers whose children died while killing other mothers’ children is paradoxical, but love is unconditional for a mother.

  • Things I explored through this story.
    • The unconditional love of a mother.
    • Mother’s perspective on wars.
    • How circumstances force mothers to send their children to wars.
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