The Ordinary Devoted Mother

While “The Ordinary Devoted Mother” is considered a graphic novel, a majority of the work relies on text and references to get the message across. For example, from pages 103-106, Bechdel dives into a conversation about theorist, Donald Winnicott. On page 106, Bechdel cites Winnicott’s passage in one of his works: 

“There are three main reasons, Winnicott says, why a mother might not be able to ‘give herself over to this preoccupation with the care of her infant.’… [The third reason is that] ‘a mother becomes depressed and she can feel herself depriving her child of what the child needs, but she cannot help the onset of the mood swing…Here she is causing trouble, but no one would blame her. In other words, there are all manner of reasons why some children do get let down before they are able to avoid being wounded or maimed in personality by the fact… it is necessary for us to look at human growth and development, with all its complexities that are internal or personal to the child, and we must be able to say: here the ordinary devoted mother failed’” (Bechdel 106). 

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Perform research on Winnicott and his theory (which Bechdel presents on page 106). What is the importance of this theory to Bechdel’s main argument? In other words, what does this theory say about the relationship between herself and her mother?

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