Vera's parents

Vera’s mother

Vera’s mother is a secondary, yet developing, character in Nadine Gordimer’s short story “Some Are Born to Sweet Delight.”

Outer characterisation

There are no physical descriptions of Vera’s mother in the text.

She works for the people who own the house in which the family rents the basement flat. The owners, who live above them, are systematically referred to as “Upstairs” in the story, which brings associations of the traditional hierarchy between the British upper class (the masters of the house, often referred to as “Upstairs”) and the working class (the servants in the house, often referred to as “Downstairs”). Vera’s mother is not a servant as such, but it is clear that she and her husband belong to the working class. Her duties are “cleaning three times a week and babysitting through the childhood of three boys she thought of as her own”. She sometimes takes these children to the zoo.

Inner characterisation

Vera’s mother is a typical mother figure. She plants flowers in the garden, she bakes and cooks, and she takes care of the house.

In the beginning of the story, Vera’s mother is polite but reluctant towards Rad. She invites him to dinner as a form of politeness but without actually meaning it. She is also affected by Vera’s relationship wi...

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