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key influences and themes

Margaret Drabble is particularly fascinated by the role of the mother. She had a difficult relationship with her own mother, who suffered from depression, and Drabble had become a mother herself at a young age. The relationship between mothers and daughters is a theme that recurs in her writing, for example in Jerusalem the Golden.

"I suppose I am obsessed by the woman's role as mother and I think perhaps my mother very heavily influenced me, not always in a very happy way. So I think I'm constantly struggling with the theme of the mother/daughter relationship, I don't think it was one single event, it was a sequence of recurrent events that keep bringing me back to the same problems about my mother, about myself, about my children."
Margaret Drabble

Drabble describes her early work as pre-feminist, since the women's movement only really gathered strength in the 1960s. She touched on subjects which were considered extremely daring and which hadn't been written about before. For example, she wrote about childbirth in her novel The Millstone. A single mother chooses to give birth rather than have an abortion, and does not inform the father. She seemed to touch a chord with women readers in a new and exciting way.

"when I started writing I certainly felt that there were whole areas of life that nobody had looked into at all and that women's lives had changed There was a whole new generation of women educated but without the kind of domestic backup that was traditional, so there was a lot more subject matter to write about. The idea of being a woman on your own, reasonably independent, even if you happened to have a husband you were never the less on own with a lot of problems you confronted. Astonishingly there was very little literature on childbirth. And what was so interesting was that this was a totally common experience but nobody had moved it into poetry and fiction, and I just found that very curious but also quite exciting because it was an unexplored realm"
Margaret Drabble

life events
key influences and themes
Drabble's work
the next chapter
being a woman writer
  Women Writers
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  Meena Alexander
  Maya Angelou
  Shashi Deshpande
  Buchi Emecheta
  Jamaica Kincaid
  Doris Lessing
  Bharati Mukherjee
  Michele Roberts
  Helen Simpson

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