A Side of Family, Hold the Mother: Dare Wright and Her Fictive Kin in the Lonely Doll Series

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

The Absent Mother in the Cultural Imagination


This chapter analyzes the 1950s and 1960s Lonely Doll children’s picture books by the Canadian author Dare Wright, tracing how the books simultaneously evoke the mother and render her absent. Exploring the significance of the absence of mother in the texts, the chapter considers not only how and why this absence matters, but also how multiple other textual functions matter, including character creation, storylines, narrative voices, and the photographic images at work. This transdisciplinary study blends literary analysis with Barthes’ theory of narrative codes, history, and biography to demonstrate what these texts unearth about a motherless family portrait, which calls into question the extent to which a mother is needed at all.


DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-49037-3_10

Publication Date