Thursday, February 04, 2010

Top 10 literary stepmothers

Sam Baker, author of the novels Fashion Victim, This Year's Model, and The Stepmother's Support Group, named a top ten list of fictional stepmothers for the Guardian.

One character on the list:
Mrs Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

As light of touch as ever, Austen gave us the anti-Cinderella story in the form of Mrs Dashwood. The antithesis of the Wicked Queen, she is cruelly wronged when Mr Dashwood dies and, in keeping with the property laws of his time, he leaves everything to his son from his first marriage. Far from being the baddie, Mrs Dashwood and her daughters fall victim to an avaricious daughter-in-law, who sees to it, despite her husband's deathbed promise to his father that he would look after his stepmother and sisters, the rivals are out on their ear by Friday. Was Austen trying to tell us something? Undoubtedly.
Read about another stepmother on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue