Philip Roberts’ wife and Hortense’s surrogate mother. Hortense calls her “Miss Ma,” which shows that their relationship is entirely formal, only a parody of real motherhood. Martha openly prefers her biological son, Michael, to Hortense, and goes out of her way to make Hortense feel like she doesn’t really belong in the family.
Martha Roberts/Miss Ma Character Timeline in Small Island
The timeline below shows where the character Martha Roberts/Miss Ma appears in Small Island. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: Hortense
...of his wealth, he’s respected throughout the neighborhood as an adjudicator of disputes. His wife, Martha, is known for her unusually light grey eyes. Hortense is told to call her Miss... (full context)
...may have murdered Mr. Ryder. When Hortense returns home three days later, Michael is gone. Miss Ma tells Hortense tersely that he’s gone to England to join the Royal Air Force (RAF).... (full context)
Chapter 4: Hortense
...teacher-training college in Kingston, catching a bumpy ride in the newspaper’s van. Mr. Philip and Miss Ma are completely indifferent to her departure; they seem to have forgotten that her father is... (full context)
...in public or consorting with a lunatic. However, Miss Morgan gives her a letter from Miss Ma and gently informs her that Michael’s plane has been lost in England. At first, Hortense... (full context)