The Theory of mind is the capacity to understand other’s behaviour, attributing to them mental and emotional processes. When we read fiction’s works this cognitive ability comes into play, because we form mental representations of the characters, attributing them feelings, thoughts, motivations and fears. The construction of these mental models is an inductive process by which the reader ‘fills in the blank spaces’ according to his/her subjectivity. Performing this interpretive work we decode symbols, symbols that gain meaning only in the context of the mental model that the reader builds around the character. Fantasy is one of the genre in which symbols are more important, because it encourage a more interpretative reading, crush the illusion of the uniqueness of reality and can promote a critical vision of human and social multiplicity. This article will analyze two fantasy novels (Michelle Paver’s Wolf Brother and Cristina Brambilla’s Al primo sangue) which, through a symbolic approach, deal with two of the most frightening fears connected to growing up. The aim is to see if, under the veil of metaphorical language, these novels represent the complexity of human’s mind, showing the interior dynamics of characters when they face fears deeply connected with adolescence.
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