Motherly Advice

25 Mar

I suppose all of us who are mothers can feel some sympathy for poor Mrs. Fleming.   She discourages Henry from enlisting, but when he enlists anyway, she gives him some advice.   Sage advice, in my opinion.   While continuing to peel potatoes, as tears “leave their trails on (her) scarred cheeks,” she calmly tells Henry to

1.    Take care of yourself.

2.    Keep quiet and do what they tell you.

3.    Choose your company carefully, avoiding those who drink, swear and carouse.

4.    Do what’s right.

Simple, yet wise words from a grieving mother.   Henry listens with an air of irritation and impatience, anxious to be on his way.   I wonder if these words will come back to him when it really counts.


Posted by on March 25, 2013 in The Red Badge of Courage


7 responses to “Motherly Advice

  1. dangermom

    March 25, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I loved her! She is such the archetypal mother as he is the archetypal boy eager to get out and see the world.

  2. Christina Joy

    March 26, 2013 at 8:57 am

    I decided that should any of mine enlist I’ll just memorize her goodbye speech. I loved how her response to his initial signing up was, “the Lord’s will be done.”

    Also, I love that she provided a concrete, physical representation of her love for him – the knitting. I’m sure in the countless hours it took her to knit those socks the wool soaked up many tears and the rhythmic clicking of her needles accompanied many prayers.

    • Christine

      April 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      What was the other quote that we were going to say to our youngsters when they leave home? I can’t remember what book we were reading. Something about “sound decisions”? Do you remember?

      • Christina Joy

        April 7, 2013 at 9:22 pm

        Oh yes, what was that?

      • Jeannette

        April 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm

        Darn it – I don’t remember! Maybe you need to start knitting our favorite quotes into a “sampler” of sorts…

      • Christine

        April 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm

        Oh, I think it was Crime and Punishment. Something maybe Porfiry said to Raskolnikov

      • Christine

        April 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm

        I found it!
        Good thoughts and sound decisions!


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