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15 great literary quotes about mothers

Motherly wisdom from great authors

15 great literary quotes about mothers

Sometimes all it takes is a good book to be reminded so, because at some stage or another we’ve all been gripped by a book thanks to the maternal magnetism of a paragraph. Motherly instincts have helped shape some of the strongest characters and most intriguing plot dynamics of our time.

So with Mother’s Day fast approaching (May 10 in the US, March 15 in the UK – best not forget it), here are some of the best passages to get inspiration from before you post that card.

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)

“The mother who lay in the grave, was the mother of my infancy; the little creature in her arms, was myself, as I had once been, hushed for ever on her bosom.”


Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868)

“The clocks were striking midnight and the rooms were very still as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlid here, settling a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each unconscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter."


Stephen King, Dolores Claiborne (1992)

“There's no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her kids."


William Faulkner, The Sound And The Fury (1929)

"If I'd just had a mother so I could say Mother Mother.”

Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003)

“One of the best and the most painful things about time traveling has been the opportunity to see my mother alive."


John Steinbeck, East of Eden (1952)

“Perhaps it takes courage to raise children."


J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1997)

“He didn't realise that love as powerful as your mother's for you leaves its own mark.” 


William Shakespeare, Henry V (1599)

“And all my mother came into mine eyes. And gave me up to tears.”

E.M. Forster, Howards End (1910)

"I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars."


N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (2010)

“In a child's eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe."


L. M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams (1917)

 "Gilbert put his arm about them. 'Oh, you mothers!' he said. 'You mothers! God knew what He was about when He made you.”

Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006)

 “By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp.”


James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)

"Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not."


Edgar Allan Poe, To My Mother (1849)

“Because I feel that in the heavens above
The angels, whispering one to another,
Can find among their burning tears of love,
None so devotional as that of “Mother,”
Therefore, by that dear name I have long called you,
You who are more than mother unto me.”

Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)

"It's come at last", she thought, "the time when you can no longer stand between your children and heartache."