Mom Luby and the Social Worker by Kristin Hunter



Mom Luby

An elderly woman who is as strong as any young woman.
She has white hair and false teeth. 
She runs a speakeasy in the back room of her house.
She fosters two young children.
She is a midwife, herb doctor and ordained minister of the Gospel.
She’s a very productive woman who helps the people in her community.
She is very proud.

Miss Rushmore

She works at the Department of Child Welfare, Bureau of Family Assistance.
She is very thorough in her investigation of Mom Luby.
She is awed by Mom Luby’s productivity.

Elijah (narrator) & Puddin’ – The two young children that Mom Luby fosters. 


The United States of America between 1920-1933, during the time of the Prohibition in the United States.

Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1919 to 1933. The dry movement was led by rural Protestants in both political parties and was coordinated by the Anti-Saloon League. 

Narrative Point of View is the way events in the story are seen through the eyes of the person who narrates the story.


Love and Family Relationship

The love that Mom Luby has for her two young charges is apparent by her simple act of fostering them. She is a poor, older woman who runs a speakeasy to survive. This is not the profile of someone who should be willing to take care of two young children, as well as a whole community, yet she does. The act of visiting the Social Security Office is a testament to her commitment to taking care of the two children. The great irony in this short story is that a poor, older lady, is able to take better care of two little children than the State agency that is assigned to do so. This is because she can get more accomplished in two hours, to benefit them, than the agency can accomplish in two years with their most motivated agent.


Satire: sat•ire  

The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of…a play, novel, film, or other work that uses satire.

Satire is a literary device that uses wit or irony to expose and ridicule a human weakness. The inefficiency of bureaucratic procedures is satirized in this story.

Irony usually signals a difference between the appearance of things and reality. For instance, an “Ironic statements (verbal irony) often convey a meaning exactly opposite from their literal meaning. In ironic situations (situational irony), actions often have an effect exactly opposite from what is intended.”