Miss Julie

by

August Strindberg

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Julie’s Mother Character Analysis

Though she doesn’t appear in the play, Miss Julie’s mother set Miss Julie up for failure (according to Strindberg) by teaching her about female equality and raising her without gender or the skills needed to adjust to a “natural” life as a wife and mother. Miss Julie’s mother was born to common parents without any desire to get married or have children. However, when Julie’s father (the Count) proposed, Julie’s mother said yes and had a child “against her will.” As a result, Julie’s mother disdained men, especially her husband, and set about ruining his reputation and life. Her unconventional ideas made Julie’s family the laughing stock of their province, and ultimately lead their family to bankruptcy. When Julie’s father rebelled and took control of his home, Julie’s mother became violently ill and conspired with her lover, a bricklayer, to burn down their farm and have her husband borrow money from the bricklayer to rebuild. However, once the bricklayer collected the money, he swindled Julie’s mother, leading, eventually, to her death. Within the play, Miss Julie’s story about her mother is meant to illustrate the source of her “degeneracy.” The story also foreshadows Miss Julie’s own death after similarly placing her trust in a low-born lover who swindles her.

Julie’s Mother Quotes in Miss Julie

The Miss Julie quotes below are all either spoken by Julie’s Mother or refer to Julie’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:
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of Miss Julie published in 1992.
Miss Julie Quotes

The young lady is too stuck up in some ways and not proud enough in others. Just as was the countess when she lived. She was most at home in the kitchen and among the cows, but she would never drive with only one horse.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie, Julie’s Mother
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

I came into the world-against my mother’s wish, I have come to think. Then my mother wanted to bring me up in a perfectly natural state, and at the same time I was to learn everything that a boy is taught, so that I might prove that a woman is just as good as a man.

Related Characters: Miss Julie (speaker), Julie’s Mother
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

But he was the one who reared me in contempt for my own sex—half woman and half man! Whose fault is it, this that has happened? My father's—my mother's—my own? My own? Why, I have nothing that is my own.

Related Characters: Miss Julie (speaker), Julie’s Mother, The Count
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Miss Julie LitChart as a printable PDF.
Miss Julie PDF

Julie’s Mother Character Timeline in Miss Julie

The timeline below shows where the character Julie’s Mother appears in Miss Julie. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Miss Julie
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Jean explains that both Miss Julie and her mother before her are “too stuck up in some ways and not proud enough in others,”... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
...go. Becoming increasingly drunk, Julie tells Jean the story of her own upbringing. Miss Julie’s mother was a commoner, brought up with ideas about women’s equality and independence. Miss Julie’s mother... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Julie says that she was born “against her mother’s wish” and raised in a “state of nature”: learning everything that a male child would,... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Eventually, the Count rebelled against his wife’s ideas and took control over his house. Julie’s mother became incredibly ill, often hiding away all day and staying out all night. Then Julie’s... (full context)
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Miss Julie explains that the bricklayer was her mother’s lover and the money to rebuild had been her own fortune that she had invested... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
...her father almost killed himself but eventually got “a new lease on life” and her mother eventually died. Miss Julie explains that she did not understand the circumstances of their bankruptcy... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
...just like the Count before her. Julie sees her suicide as an extension of her mother’s revenge against her father, and she wonders whose fault her suicide is, blaming her mother... (full context)