The Mothers


Brit Bennett

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Mother Betty Character Analysis

The pastor’s secretary and one of the Mothers. Mother Betty overhears Robert Turner yelling at Mr. Sheppard for having paid for Nadia’s abortion. Shocked by this news, she tells the rest of the Mothers what she’s heard, and the gossip spreads throughout the church community. Mother Betty is the catalyst for the Upper Room’s destruction, as the church is eventually forced to shut down in the wake of the scandal and the pastor’s ruined reputation.
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Mother Betty Character Timeline in The Mothers

The timeline below shows where the character Mother Betty appears in The Mothers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One 
Secrecy, Gossip, and Storytelling Theme Icon
...note that secrets quickly get out of control in their community, referencing the time that Betty, the pastor’s secretary, witnessed the church’s head usher having brunch with an unknown young woman.... (full context)
Chapter Eight
Internalization vs. Externalization Theme Icon
...under the bed and extracts a small prayer book, which he stole from inside Mother Betty’s piano bench when he was in sixth grade. “That’s my mother’s,” Nadia says, dumbstruck. “She... (full context)
Chapter Eleven
Secrecy, Gossip, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Caretaking and Responsibility Theme Icon
...The next morning, she brings it to Upper Room. While doing so, she sees Mother Betty getting off the bus. Betty tells her that the DMV took her license away, so... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
Secrecy, Gossip, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Religion and Judgment Theme Icon
The Mothers recount how the news of Nadia’s abortion spreads through the church. First, Mother Betty overhears Robert yelling at the pastor for financing the abortion. Betty then whispers to the... (full context)
Secrecy, Gossip, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
...that Nadia now lives in New York or Boston and works as a respected lawyer. Betty maintains that Nadia has never settled down, claiming she goes “flitting around the world, from... (full context)