Elephant

by

Raymond Carver

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Elephant can help.

The Narrator’s Mother Character Analysis

The narrator’s mother is another recipient of the narrator’s monthly checks. Now in her 70s, she’s retired and she suffers from an unspecified illness, so she relies on the narrator’s financial support. While she sometimes asks about the well-being of her family, these considerations always seem secondary to questions about money. The narrator initially derides her as “poor and greedy,” but in the end he reflects on how lucky he is to still have her.
Get the entire Elephant LitChart as a printable PDF.
Elephant PDF

The Narrator’s Mother Character Timeline in Elephant

The timeline below shows where the character The Narrator’s Mother appears in Elephant. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Elephant
Dependency Theme Icon
The narrator tells Billy to pay the money back not to him, but to their mother, who is “poor and greedy.” For years, the narrator has been sending her money every... (full context)
Dependency Theme Icon
Money and Hardship Theme Icon
Drudgery vs. Escape  Theme Icon
...Billy because he’s got so many issues of his own: in addition to supporting his mother, he’s sending money to a few other people. One is his ex-wife, and another is... (full context)
Dependency Theme Icon
Drudgery vs. Escape  Theme Icon
...narrator doesn’t think his family takes his threat to move to Australia very seriously. His mother writes him back first, saying that she’ll go out and look for work as soon... (full context)
Dependency Theme Icon
Money and Hardship Theme Icon
The narrator reminds Billy that he never paid their mother the money that he owes her. Why would he lend him even more money? They’re... (full context)
Dependency Theme Icon
Money and Hardship Theme Icon
The narrator’s mother can’t afford to buy support hose or have her hair tinted. She thought that this... (full context)
Dependency Theme Icon
Drudgery vs. Escape  Theme Icon
...decides to write her a letter to wish her well. His thoughts turn to his mother, and he feels lucky that she remains in good health. (full context)