Is there any imagery in We Need to Talk About Kevin that helps represent motherhood?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the title might be an image that represents motherhood.  The need to address where a child might not fit the exact dimensions of a mother's subjectivity is a painful challenge, one that necessitates constant discussion and continual reflection.  Eva's need "to talk" about Kevin is an image of motherhood, one that reflects how a mother is constantly concerned about her child.  It might be a stereotype, but it is one that works as an image that represents motherhood and what it means to be a mother.  Another image that helps to represent motherhood would have to be Eva's weekly visits to the prison to see Kevin.  There is an awkwardness between them, one that indicates the gulf in their relationship has helped to create the conditions that allowed the events of that "Thursday" to happen.  There is an impotence or frigidity of emotions in these visits.  This represents an image of motherhood precisely because it is the opposite of what one thinks of what one thinks of motherhood.  The images of motherhood of a mother weeping at her child in jail, or offering zealous and unconditional support of her child while in jail are offset by the awkward silence and emotional discomfort both share during Eva's visits.  Finally, I think that there is a poignant image when Eva is able to nurse Kevin back to health when he has a fever.  No better image of motherhood is evident than this one.  While there is distance between mother and child, it does not prevent her from taking care of her own, tending to her child.  It is a rare image in a relationship filled with pain and emotional hurt.


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