By considering the role of maternal sentiment in national discourses of death and remembering, the book demonstrates the maternal visions that actually determine the value of life according to racialized ideas of national belonging. This chapter concludes that by looking at the ways in which maternal sentiment is deployed and witnessed to elicit feelings about life, death, and resurrection in a variety of visual contexts, people recognize that feeling has become dependent on profoundly limiting but profoundly powerful visions of “the mother.” Upon examination, the discursive structures working to shape the meaning of events and texts within an American national memory have much in common in their repudiating practices and effects, and in their influence on the racialized constructions of the beloved and the disdained.
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