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Most women are able to bear children, but not all are mothers. For example, children are given up for adoption, raised by family members, others are merely abandoned, some are mistreated. In The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Natella is relieved of her duties as a mother because of her position in society. He is cared for by doctors and servants. In the chaos of leaving the palace, Natella's main concern is her belongings..... little Michael is left behind in the craziness of her escape. Her priorities are materialistic.
Unlike Natella, Grusha's first thoughts are of the child. She risks her own life to make sure he makes it out of the castle, and all of her actions thereafter are centered around protecting him. Grusha did not need to carry Michael in her own body in order to love him.... motherly instinct came naturally, as did selflessness.
When the women enter Azdak's court, Michael is the object of litigation. The story mimics that of King Solomon, as Asdak puts the women to a test. The woman without motherly instinct.... the woman who bore Michael, is willing to wrench his arm out of its socket in order to take custody. The true mother (Grusha) refuses to take part.... because again, her only concern is protecting thie child. Her love for Michael has no boundaries..... she is a mother.
The Caucasian Chalk Circle