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Floating in My Mother's Palm by Ursula Hegi. A Literary Essay Example.

5 pages
1221 words
Sewanee University of the South
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Floating in My Mother's Palm is a novel which was written by Ursula Hegi. The book contains a collection of parables that tell the story of life in one small town in Germany. The story talks about a young woman who is reflecting back on her life since childhood and those who have been able to bring an impact on her life. The narrator is a young girl by the name Hanna Malter who grew up in Burgdorf (Hegi).

Analysis of the Chapter

I would like this paper to give a review of the White Lilacs which is a chapter in the novel. The narrator starts the story in this chapter by explaining to us what sorts of life and dreams her mother went through when was carrying her in the womb (Hegi). The narrator further tells us that since the day her mother got the pregnancy carrying her, her mother has been experiencing some dreams which she has never had before, and the dreams again reappear when she was carrying the pregnancy of her brother. The narrator imagines seeing her mother alone in the house lying in the double bed with the birch headboard. But the narrator tells us that her father was nowhere to be seen by that time to give her mother company while staying in the room (Hegi). There is a white Lilac bush behind the house where the mother of the narrator gazes at through the window by resting her forehead on the smudge.

Narrator goes ahead to give us a forthcoming dream where she says that she would be able to tear the lilacs from the bush and rap them in a tissue paper in the next fourteen years, wrap it in a tissue paper and drop them into her mother's grave. According to the statement, the narrator tries to assume that her mother shall have died in the next fourteen years. The storyteller again tells us that, the mother moves her hands across her abdomen as a sign off reassuring herself of the life of the narrator who is her daughter. The mother feels some fear that cloaks around her. Agathe who is a sister to the narrator have taken the responsibility of taking care of the mother since she got the pregnancy (Hegi). Agathe always takes care of the mother by also answering the many questions the mother asks with kindness and always be there to satisfy the needs of the mother all throughout the pregnancy period.

The mother always walks to the hospital occasionally to ensure that her unborn child is safe and growing well. Frau Talmeister who used to be one year ahead of the mother in school lives along the streets where the mother passes when going to the hospital. Frau is a midwife, but the mother still decides to go to the hospital. In Frau's house, there are some few rooms which are kept for childbirth and minor emergencies. Sister Agathe scrutinizes the mother to make sure that proper care is taken to confirm the status of the child. Sister Agathe has been in the care for the mother of the narrator from her girlhood to the stage where she is. Agathe always stood on the side of the mother even if her problems were as a result of the misconduct and carelessness of the mother (Hegi).

The chapter further goes ahead to describe the nature of struggles the mother of the narrator had during the pregnancy and the time when it was believed that she could deliver. The nurses struggle with her as she continues to show love and care for his child by passing her hands through her belly to ensure that the child she was carrying was alive. Sister Agathe continues to be with the mother of the narrator of the story in the hospital to make sure that her sister was alive and makes her assistance services available whenever it was needed, this includes, calling the nurses when the situation of the sister was worsened. The mother at long last decides to go and visit a midwife, she on the way finds a parked bread truck from which she chooses to ask for a lift from the driver to drop her off to the place where she was heading. The mother decides to move to seek a midwife's service to be assured that the child was safe and alive. Also, she believed that the midwife should give a better solution to the problems she was going through and provide excellent care for her (Hegi).

Themes brought out in this Chapter

The chapter, in general, seems to bring out the theme of care, this evident because the mother of the narrator is termed as a caring mother in the story. The mother shows her caring nature as she always passes her hands through her belly to make sure that the child she was carrying was safe and alive. The mother also occasionally visited clinics for proper check-ups to make sure that the child was fine and alive.

The theme of caring is also depicted in the story by Agathe who was occasionally is seen to providing proper care for the mother of the narrator. Agathe always made sure that her sister, the mother of the narrator was always adequately cared for and hence ensuring proper care to the unborn child. The theme of care is seen when Agathe still tries to make her self-available to the attention of the mother of the narrator who is always in need of her care. The theme of care is also depicted in the story by Agathe by the fact that she still reminds the sister of the importance to relax herself to allow the child too to relax. There is also the theme of love which is brought out in this chapter. The narrator shows love to her mother by always being there to keep her mother company.

Importance of the Chapter

This chapter is essential as far as the continuity of the story is concerned. The story talks about the existence of the narrator who is the main character in the story. The story talks about the early life of the narrator and the history of her mother and how she struggled to bring her children up. The chapter also shows us of the importance of the proper care to mothers who are pregnant. The section rings out that, when one is pregnant she should visit clinics regularly to ensure the proper growth of the unborn babies. The theme, therefore, creates the first origin of the story, since, the narrator and the brother's early life are described in the chapter.


In a nut shell, this chapter is significant in the setting of the story and the novel as a whole, as it helps in the development of the character's relationship and understanding. The chapter puts emphasis on care. It therefore elucidates the imperatives of morals to parents and the societal setting an individual finds himself in. Being caring inflicts the aspect of moral sanity that drives an individuals character in the right direction as he or she relates with others.


Works Cited

Hegi, Ursula. "Floating in My Mother's Palm." 1990. Simon & Schuster Digital Sales Sites. 19 December 2017. <>.



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