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The Blind Assassin

  • Study Guide

Important Quotes Explained

Quotes Important Quotes Explained

Quote 1

"What fabrications they are, mothers. Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams. We deny them an existence of their own, we make them up to suit ourselves—our own hungers, our own wishes, our own deficiencies."

This quotation occurs in Part III, after Iris describes the death of her mother, Liliana. Iris loses her mother as a young child, and this loss affects her in two ways. First, it forces Iris to take on a pseudo-maternal role toward Laura. Second, it leaves her vulnerable and without a strong source of support as she struggles to make decisions about her own life. To some extent, Iris idealizes her mother and romanticizes what her life might have been like if Liliana had not died when the two girls were so young. However, this quotation reveals that Iris is also self-aware enough to notice the dangers of idealizing and projecting characteristics which are not necessarily true onto other people. Although the quotation focuses specifically on how memories of mothers tend to get distorted, this trend is part of a broader theme within the novel. Iris is very aware that memories and public records about individuals do not necessarily reflect the reality of who they were.