Fran’s mother is dying of cancer but she has lived a more full and satisfying life that her daughter although it had been a sad one. Fran’s mother had, of course, been married and at one time been devoted wife, mother and homemaker. She had endured a difficult marriage since her husband was “rigid, inflexible and unforgiving.”(p. 6) She probably put up with such a nasty man for the sake of her daughter Fran. She did experience the joy of motherhood and the trials and tribulations of parenthood while simultaneously living with a stern and probably mean spouse.
In the story, we also get a sense that Lillian had many friends since she enjoyed, and was so expert at, letter writing although this skill had waned as she grew older and cancer had weakened her.
Fran’s mother also had a strong sense of motherhood. She was willing to give up her whole world (husband, home, friends) for the sake of her unwed pregnant daughter. As the author states in a reference to the story of the duke and duchess of windson “when someone gives up the world for you, you become their world.”(p. 15) In this sense Lillian gave up everything for Fran and so Fran become the whole world to Lillian. The reader wonders what mother would be willing to give up her whole way of life to protect her unwed pregnant child? One can also see the many small sacrifices Lillian has make for her daughter. For instance, the author states that when they first move to Florida, the mother would help her daughter learn to drive in the evenings when she (the mother) would rather enjoy a “hot shower and a soft bed”(p. 7) after a hard day of going from motel to motel until they could eventually find a permanent residence.
Lillian also seems to handle life difficulties and trials so much better than Fran. Her body is wrecked by cancer and chemotherapy yet she still maintains her dignity and po