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The Caregiver


her daughter is returned. In this story, Kore goes underground every year. We have winter because of her mother’s grief when Kore is gone. Commenting about the desire to sometimes demonize the role of the Caregiver (in this case, the maternal role) as a technique for trying to break free of its power, Anna Quindlen, writing for Newsweek, says, “Fat chance, Freudians. Whether querulous or imperious, attentive or overbearing, warm or waspish, surcease or succubus, she is as central as the sun.” Understanding the complexity of the Caregiver and our relationship to it is essential to tapping into the full depth and dimension of the archetype in brand communication. It is also critical to making the archetype useful to contemporary consumers who more than understand that caregiving is a complex affair—fraught with conflict, sacrifice, and the difficult desire to support, rather than suffocate. As Quindlen puts it: Motherhood [and, we would add, most forms of caregiving] consists largely of transcendent scut work, which seems contradictory, which is exactly right. How can you love so much someone who drives you so crazy and makes such constant demands? How can you devote yourself to a vocation in which you are certain to be made peripheral, if not redundant? How can we joyfully embrace the notion that we have ceased to be the center of our own universe?* In our work on “Sesame Street,” it has been helpful for us to constantly keep in mind the natural human tension between mothering and smothering. The metaphor that has proven useful is considering the parent who cries in alarm, “Don’t climb that tree! You could get hurt!” compared with the one who says, “Now if you’re going to climb that tree, think about it. While you’re going up, make a plan for how you’re going to get down.” The distinction has helped everyone from sales and merchandising people to the show’s creators to remember that “Sesame Street” is a decidedly mothering brand. While other shows for preschoolers sugarcoat reality, “Sesame *Anna Quindlen, “A New Roof on an Old House,” Newsweek, Vol. 135, Issue 23, June 5, 2000, p. 84.

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype