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The Influence of Donald Winnicott on Alison Bechdel's Graphic Memoir Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama



Are You My Mother Alison Bechdel Pdf 30: A Review of the Graphic Memoir




If you are looking for a graphic memoir that explores the complex relationship between a daughter and her mother, you might want to check out Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel. This book is a companion piece to Bechdel's earlier work Fun Home, which deals with her relationship with her father. In this article, we will review Are You My Mother? and discuss its plot, style, themes, and psychoanalytic references. We will also provide some FAQs and a custom message at the end.




Are You My Mother Alison Bechdel Pdf 30



Introduction




In this section, we will introduce the book Are You My Mother?, its author Alison Bechdel, and some reasons why you should read it.


What is Are You My Mother?




Are You My Mother? is a graphic memoir that was published in 2012 by Alison Bechdel. It is a comic drama that depicts Bechdel's troubled relationship with her distant, unhappy mother, who was a voracious reader, music lover, and passionate amateur actor. The book also chronicles Bechdel's experiences with psychoanalysis, with particular reference to the work of Donald Winnicott, a British psychoanalyst who developed the concepts of transitional objects, true and false self, and the use of an object. The book is divided into seven chapters, each named after one of Winnicott's ideas.


Who is Alison Bechdel?




Alison Bechdel is an American cartoonist and writer who is best known for her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, which ran from 1983 to 2008. She is also the creator of the Bechdel test, a criterion for evaluating the representation of women in fiction. She has won several awards for her work, including the Eisner Award, the Stonewall Book Award, and the MacArthur Fellowship. She is currently working on a graphic memoir about her physical fitness obsession.


Why read Are You My Mother?




You should read Are You My Mother? if you are interested in:


  • The genre of graphic memoirs and how they combine words and images to tell personal stories.



  • The dynamics of mother-daughter relationships and how they shape one's identity and sense of self.



  • The insights of psychoanalysis and how they can help one understand one's own emotions, desires, and conflicts.



  • The life and work of Alison Bechdel and how she uses her art to explore her sexuality, family history, and creative process.



Summary of Are You My Mother?




In this section, we will summarize the main events and themes of each chapter of Are You My Mother?.


The ordinary devoted mother




This chapter introduces Bechdel's mother, who was born in 1933 and grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. She married Bechdel's father, a closeted gay man, when she was 22 and had three children with him. She was an avid reader and a talented actor, but she gave up her artistic aspirations to raise her family. She also suffered from depression and anxiety, and often withdrew from her children. Bechdel recalls how her mother stopped kissing her good night when she was seven, and how she felt rejected and unloved by her.


Transitional objects




This chapter explores the concept of transitional objects, which are items that provide comfort and security to infants as they separate from their mothers. Bechdel relates this idea to her own attachment to books, especially a children's book called Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, which tells the story of a baby bird who searches for his mother. Bechdel also discusses how she used writing and drawing as ways of expressing herself and coping with her family problems.


True and false self




This chapter examines the concept of true and false self, which are terms that describe the authentic and inauthentic aspects of one's personality. Bechdel reflects on how she developed a false self to please her parents and conform to social norms, especially regarding her sexuality. She came out as a lesbian when she was 19, but she struggled to accept her true self and to communicate with her mother, who was ambivalent about her daughter's orientation. Bechdel also reveals how she began therapy when she was 25, and how it helped her understand herself better.


Mind




This chapter focuses on the concept of mind, which is the ability to think and feel independently from one's environment. Bechdel recounts how she became fascinated by psychoanalysis and read many books by Freud, Jung, Lacan, and Winnicott. She also describes how she met her first analyst, Carol, who helped her deal with her father's death and her mother's coldness. Bechdel also narrates how she started dating Holly, a woman who was also interested in psychoanalysis.


Hate




This chapter deals with the concept of hate, which is the emotion that arises when one feels frustrated or threatened by another person. Bechdel analyzes how she felt hate towards her mother, who was often critical, distant, and unsupportive of her. She also recalls how she felt hate towards Holly, who cheated on her with another woman. Bechdel also discusses how hate can be a source of creativity and growth, as well as a way of asserting one's autonomy.


Mirror




This chapter investigates the concept of mirror, which is the process of seeing oneself reflected in another person. Bechdel considers how she mirrored her mother in many ways, such as her appearance, her interests, her career choices, and her relationships. She also wonders how her mother mirrored her, and whether she influenced her mother's decision to divorce her father and pursue acting again. Bechdel also depicts how she met Judy, a therapist who became her second analyst.


The use of an object




This chapter explores the concept of the use of an object, which is the ability to relate to another person as a separate being rather than as an extension of oneself. Bechdel illustrates how she learned to use her mother as an object rather than as a subject, meaning that she accepted her mother as she was rather than as she wanted her to be. She also shows how she used Winnicott as an object rather than as an idol, meaning that she appreciated his ideas rather than worshipped him. Bechdel also depicts how she finished writing Fun Home and sent it to her mother for feedback.


Analysis of Are You My Mother?




In this section, we will analyze the form, style, themes, and psychoanalytic references of Are You My Mother?.


The comic form and style




or feeling. The sound effects indicate noises or actions that occur in the scenes. The symbols represent emotions, ideas, or connections that are relevant to the story. The comic form and style of Are You My Mother? allow Bechdel to convey multiple layers of meaning and to create a rich and complex narrative. The words and images complement and contrast each other, creating irony, humor, tension, and insight. The panels also vary in size, shape, and layout, creating rhythm, pace, and mood. The book also uses metafictional techniques, such as showing Bechdel's process of writing and drawing the book itself, and breaking the fourth wall by addressing the reader directly. The themes and motifs




Are You My Mother? explores several themes and motifs that are related to Bechdel's personal and artistic journey. Some of these themes and motifs are:


  • Mother-daughter relationship: The book examines the complicated and ambivalent bond between Bechdel and her mother, who have different personalities, expectations, and needs. The book also explores how their relationship is influenced by their family history, their gender roles, their sexuality, and their artistic aspirations.



  • Psychoanalysis: The book delves into the theories and practices of psychoanalysis, especially those of Winnicott, who provides a framework for understanding Bechdel's psychological development and conflicts. The book also depicts Bechdel's experiences with therapy and how it helps her cope with her trauma, grief, and identity issues.



  • Creativity: The book reflects on the sources and challenges of creativity, both for Bechdel and her mother. The book shows how creativity can be a way of expressing oneself, healing oneself, connecting with others, and finding meaning in life. The book also shows how creativity can be hindered by external factors, such as social norms, family pressures, or lack of recognition.



  • Books: The book features many references to books that have influenced Bechdel and her mother, such as novels, memoirs, poems, plays, comics, and psychoanalytic texts. The book demonstrates how books can be transitional objects that provide comfort, guidance, inspiration, and knowledge. The book also demonstrates how books can be mirrors that reflect one's own experiences, feelings, and thoughts.



The psychoanalytic framework




Are You My Mother? uses the psychoanalytic framework of Winnicott to structure its narrative and to analyze its characters. Winnicott was a British psychoanalyst who was interested in the development of the self and the role of the mother-child relationship in shaping it. He proposed several concepts that are relevant to Bechdel's story, such as:


  • Transitional objects: These are items that provide comfort and security to infants as they separate from their mothers. They can be toys, blankets, books, or anything else that the infant invests with emotional value. They help the infant cope with anxiety and develop a sense of self.



  • True and false self: These are terms that describe the authentic and inauthentic aspects of one's personality. The true self is the spontaneous expression of one's impulses, feelings, and desires. The false self is the adaptation to the expectations of others or society. A healthy balance between the two is necessary for one's well-being.



  • The use of an object: This is the ability to relate to another person as a separate being rather than as an extension of oneself. It involves recognizing the other person's autonomy, reality, and feelings. It also involves being able to use the other person for one's own needs without destroying or exploiting them.



Conclusion




evaluating its strengths and weaknesses, and giving some recommendations for readers. The main takeaways from Are You My Mother?




Are You My Mother? is a graphic memoir that tells the story of Bechdel's relationship with her mother and her quest for self-understanding. The book is a comic drama that combines words and images to create a rich and complex narrative. The book is also a psychoanalytic exploration that uses the concepts of Winnicott to analyze Bechdel's psychological development and conflicts. The book is a creative expression that shows Bechdel's artistic process and influences. The book is a personal testimony that reveals Bechdel's emotions, desires, and struggles.


The strengths and weaknesses of Are You My Mother?




Are You My Mother? has many strengths as a graphic memoir. Some of them are:


  • It is honest, insightful, and courageous. It does not shy away from showing the dark and painful aspects of Bechdel's life and family.



  • It is engaging, humorous, and moving. It uses irony, wit, and emotion to captivate the reader and to convey its message.



  • It is innovative, sophisticated, and metafictional. It uses various techniques and references to create a multi-layered and self-referential work of art.



Are You My Mother? also has some weaknesses as a graphic memoir. Some of them are:


  • It is dense, complex, and challenging. It requires a lot of attention and background knowledge to follow its plot and arguments.



  • It is repetitive, digressive, and inconclusive. It sometimes loses focus and direction, and does not provide a clear resolution or closure.



  • It is subjective, biased, and limited. It reflects Bechdel's perspective and interpretation, which may not be accurate or complete.



The recommendations for readers of Are You My Mother?




We recommend Are You My Mother? to readers who are interested in:


  • Graphic memoirs that explore personal and family issues.



  • Mother-daughter relationships and how they affect one's identity and sense of self.



  • Psychoanalysis and how it can help one understand one's own emotions, desires, and conflicts.



  • Creativity and how it can be a source of healing, growth, and meaning.



We also recommend Are You My Mother? to readers who have read Bechdel's previous work Fun Home, which deals with her relationship with her father. However, we advise readers to be prepared for a different tone and style in Are You My Mother?, which is less linear and more experimental than Fun Home.


FAQs




In this section, we will answer some frequently asked questions about Are You My Mother?.


Q: Is Are You My Mother? a sequel to Fun Home?




and her creativity. However, Are You My Mother? does refer to some events and characters from Fun Home, and it also shows Bechdel's process of writing and publishing Fun Home.


Q: What is the meaning of the title Are You My Mother?




A: The title Are You My Mother? has multiple meanings. It is the name of a children's book by P.D. Eastman that Bechdel read as a child and that influenced her. It is also a question that Bechdel asks herself and her mother throughout the book, as she tries to understand their relationship and their similarities and differences. It is also a question that Bechdel asks Winnicott and her analysts, as she seeks their guidance and validation. It is also a question that Bechdel asks the reader, as she invites them to share her story and to reflect on their own experiences.


Q: Who is Donald Winnicott and why is he important in Are You My Mother?




A: Donald Winnicott was a British psychoanalyst who was interested in the development of the self and the role of the mother-child relationship in shaping it. He proposed several concepts that are relevant to Bechdel's story, such as transitional objects, true and false self, and the use of an object. He also wrote about creativity, play, and culture. He is important in Are You My Mother? because he provides a framework for understanding Bechdel's psychological development and conflicts. He also serves as a transitional object, a false self, and an object for Bechdel, who uses his ideas to cope with her anxiety, to please her mother, and to relate to her analysts.


Q: How does Bechdel use the comic form to tell her story?




A: Bechdel uses the comic form to tell her story in various ways. She uses words and images to create a rich and complex narrative that conveys multiple layers of meaning. She uses panels to create rhythm, pace, and mood. She uses captions to narrate the events and provide commentary. She uses speech bubbles to show dialogue between characters or excerpts from books or interviews. She uses thought balloons to show what characters are thinking or feeling. She uses sound effects to indicate noises or actions that occur in the scenes. She uses symbols to represent emotions, ideas, or connections that are relevant to the story. She also uses metafictional techniques, such as showing her process of writing and drawing the book itself, and breaking the fourth wall by addressing the reader directly.


Q: What are some of the themes and motifs that Bechdel explores in Are You My Mother?




A: Some of the themes and motifs that Bechdel explores in Are You My Mother? are:


  • Mother-daughter relationship: The book examines the complicated a