How to Become a Writer


Lorrie Moore

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Francie’s Mother Character Analysis

Francie’s mother, unlike Francie’s father, is a consistent presence in Francie’s life. Her practical attitude is a strong contrast to Francie’s creative, illogical behavior. During Francie’s childhood, her mother is often preoccupied by issues including her divorce from Francie’s father and the fact that her son, Francie’s brother, is serving in Vietnam. This preoccupation manifests in her lack of interest when it comes to Francie’s writing. Years later, when Francie changes her major to creative writing, Francie’s mother seems perplexed and frustrated, and she gives Francie a book with tips on becoming a business executive. She doesn’t try to discourage Francie from writing, but it’s clear she, along with most of Francie’s peers, doesn’t understand her persistence. Her confusion contributes to the loneliness of Francie’s creative life, as it’s something not even the people closest to Francie can understand.

Francie’s Mother Quotes in How to Become a Writer

The How to Become a Writer quotes below are all either spoken by Francie’s Mother or refer to Francie’s Mother. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Creativity and Perseverance  Theme Icon
How to Become a Writer Quotes

About the second you write an elaborate story of an old married couple who stumble upon an unknown land mine in their kitchen and accidentally blow themselves up. You call it: “For Better or for Liverwurst.”

About the last you write nothing. There are no words for this. Your typewriter hums. You can find no words.

Related Symbols: Explosions
Page Number: 123-124
Explanation and Analysis:

Your mother will come visit you. She will look at the circles under your eyes and hand you a brown book with a brown briefcase on the cover. It is entitled: How to Become a Business Executive. She has also brought the Names for Baby encyclopedia you asked for; one of your characters, the aging clown-school teacher, needs a new name.

Related Characters: Francie, Francie’s Mother
Page Number: 124-125
Explanation and Analysis:
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Francie’s Mother Character Timeline in How to Become a Writer

The timeline below shows where the character Francie’s Mother appears in How to Become a Writer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
How to Become a Writer
Creativity and Perseverance  Theme Icon
Violence, Trauma, and Isolation Theme Icon
...sequences which illustrate “thwarted desire” with gentle, natural images. Francie shows the poems to her mom who, she notes, has a son in Vietnam (Francie’s brother) and a husband (Francie’s father)... (full context)
Creativity and Perseverance  Theme Icon
Francie’s mother comes to visit her. She brings two books: one, a guide to becoming a business... (full context)