Mentalization In Little Bear Analysis

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Mothers always play an essential role in children’s minds no matter if they are around or not. According to Rebecca L. Chaplan in her recent article “A Dream Mother: Maternal Function and Mentalization in Little Bear”, the reason people believe in this statement is that we, as humans, successfully develop mentalization in our childhood. Mentalization is “the ability to know about the intentions and thoughts of another person”, which is not necessarily referring to people’s ability in a psychic way, but how sensitive and considerate a person can be (Chaplan 174). In the article, Chaplan argues that Little Bear shows how essential fantasy and a mother’s guide are parts of a child’s developmental process of mentalization: in her words, “mentalization…show more content…
Little Bear, written by Else Homelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, tells stories about the interactions between a little bear and his mother, who is, in Sendak’s words, “the best of a mother”(173). However, is a mother’s success in establishing secure attachment with a child a necessity for the child to develop the idea of mentalization? Furthermore, if maternal function can always influence a child’s development in mentalization positively or not? Another Sendak’s picture book, Where the Wild Things Are, can also be used to discuss these two questions. The picture book tells a story of Max’s fantastical journey to where the wild things are after he has been punished by his mother for behaving in a wild way. This essay will challenge Chaplan’s claims on the necessity of maternal function in the child’s development of mentalization by suggesting that the child can still develop mentalization without secure attachments to his or her mother. In this essay, I will also discuss that maternal function can affect the child’s development in mentalization negatively by misleading them to establish a wrong sense of self and confuse them between fantasy and

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