Dealing with Loss in Killing the Bear
Often things that we experience as children have lasting affects on us that creep up when we least expect them. In Judith Minty's story "Killing the Bear", a woman finds herself in just such a situation. She finally deals with something that happened to her as a young child that she probably never even realized was bothering her. In this story the central character painfully comes to grips with a major loss of security from her childhood.
Throughout "Killing the Bear" the author flips back and forth from the story at hand and seemingly only loosely related anecdotes about the main character and bears. One of the first of these side stories is about the woman's childhood. It talks about something that happens to most children, the loss of an object of security. The girl is attached to a stuffed bear and her mother takes it away "for three months" (12). She is told that when the time is over if she has stopped sucking her thumb, she can have the toy back. When the time passes, however, the child discovers that her toy bear has been thrown into the incinerator and is lost to her forever. To a child, this is a major loss. The bear represented safety and comfort to her and its loss suddenly plunges her into a world of fear, isolation, and anger. She feels as though she has been abandoned by the bear, even if she realizes that it did not choose to abandon her. The picture of the woman that we are shown by the author, is one of an adult who still hasn't come to terms with these feelings of loss.
The woman in this story is in the woods and alone. The woods illustrate her fears and insecurities. She is very isolated. Even her faithful dog has died and left her, which is another past experience that shows her abandonment. She is shown to be very afraid of the bear in the woods. She still has not come to terms with her own fears and the loss of...