First Advisor

L. David Ritchie

Term of Graduation

Summer 1994

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Children's literature, Mothers in literature, Children's literature -- Film adaptations



Physical Description

1 online resource (65 pages)


The purpose of this research was two-fold. First, this thesis sought to uncover the implicit concepts associated with mothers in children's stories. Second, this thesis attempted to chart changes in portrayals of mother when translated from print to a visual medium. This research maintains that the concepts of mother in children's stories contain cultural ideals that are related to society's evolving perceptions of mother.

Eighteen mother/surrogate mother portrayals were analyzed in 15 novels and 15 videotapes. Each portrayal was coded according to marital status, range of behaviors, 41 individual behaviors within five categories, and the amount of storytime.

The results of this thesis reveal that the two most frequent behaviors associated with the role of mother in both media and print are authority and nurturance.

The research also found that mother portrayals, when translated to film and television, displayed less dominant and less supportive behaviors than in print versions. Of the 41 individual behaviors coded in both novels and videotapes mothers in films and television were found to display less ability and more affection than their print versions.

In conclusion, this study found that mother portrayals, when translated to film and television, may be altered to increase their mass audience appeal.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Persistent Identifier