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Blum, A. (1994). To Eat or Be Eaten: Two Complementary Compensatory Solutions to Premature Separation in “The Three Little Pigs”. Psychoanal. Psychol., 11(3):375-381.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 11(3):375-381

To Eat or Be Eaten: Two Complementary Compensatory Solutions to Premature Separation in “The Three Little Pigs”

Alan Blum, Ph.D.

The fairy tale “The Three Little Pigs” is looked at through a psychoanalytic lens. It is suggested that each of the three pigs is dealing with the consequences of a disruption in the mother-child relationship (e.g., impingements in the holding environment, failures in the good-enough mother, breaches in the protective shield, or some failure in the mother's role vis à vis the developing separating/individuating child). The first two pigs manifest their fragility and lack of cohesiveness, perpetually acting on their primitive wishes, such as fusion, devouring, and/or higher level dependency wishes. On the other hand, the third pig hides his fragility by erecting rigid barriers between himself and the world, defending against the dangerous wishes and maintaining an illusory self-sufficiency. These two different character structures represent complementary, compensatory solutions to premature separation.

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