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Article Title: Motherhood Is A Horror Story In ‘The Need’


Article Summary

The article at hand is a review of Helen Phillips’ novel The Need, which explores how the book unfurls and problematizes motherhood. The genre is both suspense/horror and sci-fi, and tells the story of palaeobotanist mother Molly, her two children, and her largely absent husband. The book is set against a backdrop of Molly slowly, supposedly, losing her mind, picking up on endless morbid cues in daily life that may or may not exist. While motherhood is often depicted as a utopia in culture, Phillips shows the many ways in which it can be intensely painful. It isolates and separates, through the endless time demands it places, the mother from the outside world and her hobbies. It also creates a ferocity of feelings in the mother, and she can as easily turn into a source of danger to her kids as she is their greatest benefactor. Molly has a knack for her work and especially for dealing with quirky objects in the line of it, and may sometimes pose a threat to her family and children, but she has no choice left apart from continuing with her present life situation. The conclusion of the novel also, writes the author/reviewer, is complex and layered, painting motherhood neither as a panacea and nor a dystopia.

Article Link: Click here to read the full article


Words to learn from this article:

Peril: extreme danger.

Manifest: (here) appear or take shape.

Gig: a live music concert.

Eerie: strange and frightening.

Doppelgangers: exact copies, of a person.

Portentous: something that aims to predict or foreshadow.

Visceral: emotional, rather than rational or intellectualised.


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