A Mixing Of Sorrowful Pain And Motherhood In The Book Of Margery Kempe

Submitted By emievu737
Words: 1999
Pages: 8

A Mixing of Sorrowful Pain & Motherhood in The Book of Margery Kempe Coming from a vain and upper middle-class household, Margery Kempe decides to defy societal expectations in order to pursue a higher purpose in life: spreading the words of God. As a female English Christian, Kempe provides implicit details about her travels and her experiences with the divine revelation. The book doesn’t start off with any typical childhood narratives, but instead, it recounts her first pregnancy and childbirth. Recording her life events during the fifteenth-century, Kempe bore a total of fourteen children. Her children are not the main focus of the book, but rather, they are in the reader’s peripheral vision. Wherever Kempe goes, she faces a multitude of hardship and criticism from others, due to her boisterous public behavior of constant weeping. Many would automatically label Kempe as an insane woman, but instead, her crying—a sharp pain that she deeply feels—is a form of prayer for God. Additionally, Margery Kempe’s pain and sorrow, as shown by her tears, symbolize her devotion to God. Although it seems as if Margery sets aside her role as a mother, at the end of the story, she takes on that role again, only to realize that she never left it. Ultimately, Kempe comes to subtly transform, with the help of her wet and salty anguish, the limiting and suffering role of motherhood into a womanly role of empowerment. The uncontrollable tears that flows out like a waterfall from Margery’s eyes symbolize her deep love for Christ, and without the pain of crying, Kempe would never be able to understand other forms of meditation. After the birth of her first child, Margery Kempe finds herself surrounded by taunting demons, but God quickly saves her. No longer attacked by scornful beasts, Margery was able to see “truly how the air opened as bright as any lighting” (42). Devoting herself to the great divine and its holiness, Margery invariably weeps and cries. Many of the community members were reluctant to invite her over for dinner, for she has “contrition and great compunction, with plentiful tears and much loud and violent sobbing” (48). Margery’s constant bawling convinces people that she is a hyper-emotional and mentally unstable woman. While civilians might think that Margery’s outrageous expression is only to garner attention, her unruly tears is a source of spiritual anguish and pride, for they mark “her sins and for her unkindness towards her maker” (49). Margery credits God for providing her with these tears, and she “loved God more than he loved her” (48). In other words, Margery’s tears represent her love of God and it is a symbol of her purity. Jesus Christ even comes to Margery in a vision and says that He “died on the cross suffering bitter pains and passion for you” (51). Essentially, Margery’s tears are metaphorically, another form of worship, remorse, and prayer. Even though her tears may draw a lot of glares, they are “compassionate tears,” that keeps flowing “for the sin of the people, sometimes for the soul in purgatory, sometimes for those that are in poverty or in any disease, for she wanted to comfort them all” (54). Margery hopes that her tears will save others, especially the sinners. Additionally, Margery’s tears show that she is completely absorbed by God, and that she is entirely dependent on God’s holiness. Since Margery’s tears come directly from God, it implies that Margery herself belongs entirely to God. Margery’s tears signify the abundance of overwhelming feelings that she has for God, which urges her to delve deeper into the spiritual realm in order to gain a deeper connection with God. Along with her tears, Margery associates the pain of crying with the suffering of Jesus Christ as an outward sign of her loyalty to her spirituality. Margery suffers for Christ’s sake, and almost gets persecuted for her dedication to Him. People accuse her of