Most of us have seen that article that diagnoses the characters in Winnie the Pooh with various mental illnesses. This post is not going to be a rehashing of that article. But I have my own take on the characters in Winnie the Pooh. You’ve been warned. The ones that “everyone” likes I don’t necessarily like. And the “universally” reviled characters, well, sometimes I understand where they are coming from.
Let me just get this one out of the way. I don’t like Tigger. Never have. I realize I’m in the minority here, but I find him obnoxious and, yes, a bit self-centered. He’s like a tornado that rolls through your neighborhood, unpredictable and destructive.
When I was a kid, Eeyore was my favorite. He was slow, and sweet, and deliberate. I don’t know why he was my favorite; there was just something about him. He was always sad, so perhaps I just wanted to give him a hug. I still adore Eeyore. Sure, he’s a little bit “woe is me,” but people accept him as he is. Still one of my favorites.
Almost everyone loves Pooh, right? Not me. I’m actually somewhat neutral on Pooh. He’s selfish and he eats too much. He guilts other people into giving him things and feels no responsibility for his actions. He’s oblivious. And yet he sounds like my paternal grandmother, and really only wants the best for everyone (but himself first, of course). So I go hot and cold on Pooh. But mostly I don’t care for him.
When I became an adult, Piglet quickly became my favorite, for obvious reasons if you know me very well. Piglet is a worrier. He is anxious about things, and is the one who is concerned that there might be danger. And he’s usually right about that. Because of Piglet’s worries, I can identify with him more than any of the other characters. Plus he’s little and cute.
Owl… What to say about Owl? He’s a know-it-all. Except that what he “knows” isn’t always true. We all know someone like this. Sometimes they’re endearing, but often we just tolerate them. Owl has put himself in a position of authority when he obviously doesn’t deserve it. It’s just that no one else wants to take charge.
Kanga is a loving mother to her son Roo, and makes an attempt at parenting. But she definitely errs on the side of hands-off. She’s perhaps the anti-helicopter parent. Roo ends up okay in the end, but perhaps that’s because these characters are set up in stories for modern-ish day children.
Roo’s just a little joey. He wants to run around and have fun, but knows that his mom is where he can get comfort. He’s a pretty simple character, and there’s not much to say about him. But he’s cute. Especially in a coat.
Here’s where I really differ from the crowd. I understand Rabbit. I know where he’s coming from. I might even venture to say that I like Rabbit. He gets his garden trod upon, complains, and then is made to feel bad for being upset, as if he doesn’t have a right to keep his place the way he wants it. As if his feelings aren’t valid. He does allow Pooh to eat all of his honey, but only because he is too polite. He just wants people to leave him alone. I think he’s just an introvert, and the rest of the characters just keep bothering him, not allowing him to ever feel comfortable or safe in his own environment. Not cool, Hundred Acre Wood folk!
Last but not least, Christopher Robin. He’s a boy, not quite of school age yet, who romps around the woods with his stuffed animals, playing and making up stories and adventures. We see most of the stories from the animals’ point of view, which is a really fascinating way to tell tales. But Christopher Robin is pretty ineffectual in the whole thing, except when he gives Pooh credit for something Piglet did, but I digress. Anyway, he’s pretty bland, but less offensive than Pooh.
Do you have any unusual favorites (or least favorites) in the Hundred Acre Wood?