11 things you may not want to know about Winnie-the-Pooh

There are many ways in which one can read literary texts. One can interpret them at face value, or one can read various things into them. For instance, did you know that the stories about Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends comprise an allegory of male sexuality; in fact, a very old-fashioned one. With the exception of Kanga, all characters are male, and they each represent different aspects of male sexuality and associated desires, inhibitions, fears, prejudices, etc. The stories also include a typically male (albeit ancient) bipolar view of female sexuality: the caring Madonna (Kanga) and the always-accessible whore (the honey pot).

1. Winnie-the-Pooh is the personification of male (adolescent) sexuality. He is not quite sure what he wants, or even who he is. His actions are often hampered by his fears or his ignorance. Winnie-the-Pooh is in fact a symbol for the penis.

2. The Honey Pot, Winnie-the-Pooh’s favourite thing, represents the male fantasy of a vagina. It is the ultimate objectification of female sexuality. It is passive, will-less, and locked up in a safe place until male lust (i.e. Winnie-the-Pooh) wants a piece of it. As such, the Honey Pot is also a symbol for the whore.

3. Piglet is the unwilling virgin. He is the little kid who wants to be a big kid, like all his friends. Piglet represents the young adolescent’s frustrations and insecurities about never being sure if the others think he’s a grown-up or if they know he’s just a kid pretending to be a grown-up.

4. The Owl represents pretence. He wants to be wise. He tries very hard to appear wise. In fact, he has come to live the image he has created for himself. He is the guy who wants wants everyone else to think he knows all about what to do with the girls, but in reality he is just the same fumbling fool as the rest of us.

5. Eeyore is downbeat, cautious, self-pitying. He is always holding himself back, never allowing himself to enjoy things. He wants new experiences (i.e. date girls), but he is never likely to do so, because he fears what it might lead to. Eeyore is the personification of repressed sexuality.

6. Rabbit is that annoying acquaintance we all know, who is convinced that he is more experienced and mature than anyone else. He is different from the Owl, who knows his limitations but hides them, while Rabbit has no self-awareness at all. He wants to be in charge of all things around him, because he knows best, even when he doesn’t. In the bedroom, Rabbit is the one with the whip, always in fear of loosing control.

7. The Heffalump represents everything that our mothers warned us about, such as bad company, unhealthy living, strangers in cars, etc., as well as their consequences, like unwanted pregnancies, naughty diseases, and so on. Still, we’re all curious animals, and we’re strangely drawn to the Heffalump, perhaps because it is so taboo. The irony of the Heffalump is, of course, that it is no independent danger at all, but a part of our own beings. In fact, the search for the Heffalump represents all those trials and errors we make as young adolescents looking for love, identity, and adulthood. Hence the Heffalump is a symbol of puberty, or more specifically, an escalating awareness of our own sexuality.

8. Kanga represents the teenage mother. (Roo is her child.) Kanga is a mother because she wasn’t afraid of the Heffalump, or at least not afraid enough. But even so, she is a responsible mother. In fact, Kanga is a symbol for the Madonna. Her main role in the story is to control Roo’s unlimited lust for life, clearly in a vain attempt to stop him from repeating her mistake(s).

9. Roo, Kanga’s baby, is the fearless, life-enjoying optimist. He is totally without inhibitions and fears. He represents all our desires for constant adventure and joy. He is like a stereotypical hippie advocating free, boundless sex. He is always willing to jump into anything, as long as it looks fun. And if it doesn’t look fun, he’ll jump into it anyway.

10. Tigger is a wannabee adventurer who wants to enjoy life, but is too dumb to understand what or why things happen the way they do. As he lacks Roo’s naive self-confidence, he also lacks the courage to go all the way. He is the insecure boy who wants to hit on the pretty girls, but always gets cold feet in the last moment (eminently exemplified in stories by Tigger climbing into the tree and freezing). Tigger represents unfulfilled sexual desires, which makes him the eternal masturbator (symbolised by his constant bouncing up and down).

11. Christopher Robin is the only genuinely asexual character in the story. In a way, he is God. He gave life to all the characters. He is the moderator of their lives. He feels for them and cares for them. He is the benevolent, respectful leader we all wish we had.

I hope you can still enjoy Winnie-the-Pooh.

(Apologies to Bruno Bettelheim.)

About these ads

39 Comments

  1. Kia S. said,

    Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 21:34

    This is very scary. My English teacher read to us a section of a book called “The Pooh Complex” or something, and it was something along these lines.

  2. jfmaho said,

    Friday, July 10, 2009 at 11:37

    It used to be a popular wayof analysing fables, especially after Bruno Bettelheim did it with a lot of famous children’s tales, such as Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and so on. He doesn’t discuss Pooh, so I did it for him, trying to emulate his analytic style.

    However, it’s all a bit tongue-in-cheek.

    (I’m not familiar with the Pooh Complex, but will check it out.)

  3. Kia S. said,

    Monday, July 20, 2009 at 3:51

    Oops, it’s called “The Pooh Perplex” but I heard that overall it was a good book…tho I never read it cuz it kinda killed the innocent Pooh for me.

    Well, if you ever read it, you should write a review for it and tell me how it is. =)

  4. jfmaho said,

    Monday, July 20, 2009 at 18:36

    I wasn’t aware of that book, but I’ll certainly try to locate one and read it.

    Thanks for the tip!

  5. 10000ninjas said,

    Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 22:41

    why is the only character expressed as benevolent a-sexual? what does this say aboout the author of this article?

  6. jfmaho said,

    Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 23:30

    Hm. Interesting observation. I’ll have to think about that.

  7. jfmaho said,

    Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 23:32

    The others aren’t exactly negatively depicted, though. Roo, for instance, is a very joyful and life-enjoying character.

  8. Jas said,

    Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 19:28

    I really don’t like how you have a whole paragraph explaining how the honey-pot represents the vagina, with a reasoned argument, then at the end tag on that this also represents ‘whore’ as though it were a synonym for vagina? Also I can’t understand why you say Kanga ‘wasn’t afraid enough’, you are saying that she was foolish or wrong in her actions but there is never any suggestion that she regrets becoming a mother, embodied in her love of Roo (how joyful he is could even be saying sex is right as goodness has come from it).

  9. jfmaho said,

    Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 13:07

    Equalling the honey-pot with a whore comes from the fact that the honey pot has no will of it’s own. It’s an object of satisfaction for Pooh, and one that is always available to him, on his terms and without ever saying no. It’s not that a vagina as such is a symbol for a whore, but rather the honey pot is an ambiguous symbol for a vagina, on the omne hand, and a whore, on the other.

    As for Kanga, yes, she does love Roo and doesn’t regret having him. What I mean by “not afraid enough” is simply that her own mother probably warned her of all the dangers in the world, as stereotypical mothers might do. The Heffalump would represent those kinds of dangers, things like getting pregnant outside marriage or a relationship. She did get pregnant, so obviously she wasn’t afraid for that which the Heffalump represents, or maybe she was afraid but tested it anyway. Still, having Roo is of no regret to her, and she is a truly caring and loving mother.

    Btw, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a single mother. But the Pooh stories were written at a time when that would have been frowned upon.

    (Anyways, I hope you’re not reading the above analyses too seriously. They’re merely the efforts of an amateur psychologist.)

  10. Jas said,

    Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 16:16

    Thanks for replying, it’s good to hear you’re explanation. I’m writing an essay on the presentation of morality in Pooh so am researching the philosophies behind it, so if would reply again then i would very much like to hear your reasoning.
    Well, this maybe gives the impression that the honey-pot only represents the whore and not the vagina at all, because the vagina is not “passive, will-less or locked up until males want a piece of it”? I still feel that the phrasing makes the two words interchangeable.
    It seems like guesswork to say that her mother warned her of dangers, as there is no evidence to suggest it, but her pregnancy is never represented as a danger anyway so i’m not sure that this explanation fits. Even if it were frowned upon at the time the fact that Milne chose not to portray her being a single mother negatively should prevent us from assuming judgement on her based upon this.

  11. poo said,

    Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 5:33

    lmao this is the stupidest thing ive ever heard

  12. MDA said,

    Friday, March 23, 2012 at 17:52

    so dumb, this is a bunch of bullcrap.

  13. joan said,

    Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 21:34

    that is so stupid hateres

  14. Dora said,

    Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 15:42

    This is very disturbing!! But I believe you have a point on many things. Although some ideas are just out there!

  15. Emma said,

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 0:44

    You ruined my childhood.

  16. S.A Mahlangu said,

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 19:51

    yah neh dats ryt,nvr thot of dat

  17. Gravy said,

    Friday, February 1, 2013 at 16:40

    I think people delude themselves to see things that are not there.
    I’ve read other peoples views on this cartoon show, specially the The Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet which talks about Buddhism instead of a bias feminist view on male sexuality which you have certainly expressed.

    I believe when people see things that are not there, it is their own mental state they are projecting. I hope you can see the world is not all about sexuality and as a male i object to this sexualisation of one of my favourite kids shows.

  18. Sarah Aber said,

    Friday, April 5, 2013 at 23:25

    all fake….WInnie the pooh was created by a guy who loved his daughter so much that she made a show for her…..winnie is like this bear she saw at the zoo

  19. Domzdaman373 said,

    Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 17:40

    I always thought the characters in Winnie the Pooh represented mental disorders. (i.e Eeyore is depression, Tigger is ADHD, Owl is OCD and so on)And the hundred acre wood was the subconscious mind of the perfectly normal person (Robin) with the interference of mental disorders and how to cope with each one. The Sigmund Freud approach to Winne the Pooh, having a focus on sexuality more than anything, makes a lot of sense. I would like to hear other people’s thoughts on the matter. Thank you.

  20. jfmaho said,

    Friday, April 26, 2013 at 19:32

    Actually, I think mental disorders make a lot of sense, perhaps even more so than sexuality.

    I have to stress (to most visitors that have read this) that my above interpretation is not to be taken too seriously. I was simply fascinated by Bettelheim’s book about fairy tales and tried (in my naive enthusiasm) to apply the same kind of Freudianism to Winnie the Pooh.

    Winnie the Pooh is such a marvellous collection of stories that it lends itself to all kinds of interpretations.

    I loved them as a kid, but found them embarrassing as a teenager. Later as an adult, I’ve come to enjoy them immensely. There are just so many levels of enjoyment in them. Truly one of the most masterly pieces of literature ever written.

  21. Domzdaman373 said,

    Monday, April 29, 2013 at 13:42

    I agree! And to add, amazingly, the writer of Winnie the Pooh actually never intended on such a vivid analysis. He just merely wrote a fantastic piece of literature with a perfectly blank canvas for interpretation. So essentially, there is no correct answer. Your analysis is most commendable though. So I respect that. Just like art, nobody sees the same exact thing.

    I am such a fan myself. Like many others, I too have grown up with Winnie the Pooh. Years later I still find myself fascinated with it; nostalgically and scientifically.

    Thank you for the feedback!

    Have a great day.

  22. The Terrorist said,

    Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 3:11

    Jumping off a bridge now, you just ruined my life.

  23. Robin said,

    Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 17:30

    First of all, Winnie the Pooh was a book. It was written by A.A. Milne. It was based off of his son, Christopher Robin Milne. All of the Winnie the Pooh characters are real stuffed animals that Christopher had and they are on display in the New York Library. I mean, I could see some of them representing some mental illnesses,(Tigger-ADHD, etc.) and MAYBE Kanga being a single mother, but this is just ignorant. Why don’t you people get your fucking facts straight and actually get off your lazy fat asses and do some damn research.

  24. Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 14:00

    You ruined my childhood.

  25. Emma said,

    Friday, August 23, 2013 at 10:30

    I think this is a very interesting analysis. I would also like to say that if you can read something into a created piece then it IS there, whether or not the author intended it. It says something about the analyst as well, based on what particular view they choose to read into something, but it’s silly to take anything created by people at face value. All written/created pieces can be read in a multiplicity of ways, and none of them necessarily preclude any of the others; human beings are very complex creatures. Thank you for this.

  26. jfmaho said,

    Monday, September 2, 2013 at 19:17

    @Emma

    I agree with you.

  27. jayelle said,

    Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 21:45

    Wow!!! I think that you have some sexuality issues!

  28. jfmaho said,

    Friday, September 27, 2013 at 19:48

    (Sorry for the delayed reply.)

    Undoubtedly my analysis says more about me than it says about the story itself. I’m not going to disagree about that. The rest is between me and my shrink.

  29. kiera said,

    Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 8:17

    thats my childhood ruined

  30. Kris said,

    Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 15:07

    enjoyed this! students of modern theory will certainly appreciate. I remember an old prof of mine doing something similar with Kipling’s Jungle Book in a lecture. Fascinating because it’s not about authorial intention. It’s about the text. And the many possible interpretations by the reader of the text. The term for this is ‘jouissance’ – which basically means the ‘fun’ of reading a text in sub-textual, subversive and creatively interesting ways. Nicely done.

  31. RobbieG said,

    Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 16:25

    Not true. AA Milne practiced daoism, and Winnie the Pooh characters were based on the TYPES OF PEOPLE YOU COULD BE. Pooh was the daoist – bumbling through life without any real direction or knowledge of what he is doing, but getting there in the end. Piglet is the one who has no self-esteem and thinks himself to be insignificant. Owl is the one who tries to be intelligent but in reality is clueless. Kanga is the only exception – she and Roo were added by Disney, and Milne was not involved in their development. It is appalling that someone would seriously think that Pooh and friends are based on sexuality.

  32. KatnissEverdeen1213 said,

    Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:31

    This is probably true.Im not saying the creator of the show ment for it to be like that,we all subconciously connect things.You can analyze a lot of different cartoons and find all kinds of symbolism that probably wasn’t intentional

  33. k said,

    Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 6:40

    This is all made up, everyone makes there own interpretations of things. i do not like your title, because its seems u are implying that this is the truth. when it is actually what ur mind is interpreting. the fact that u would relate a childrens show to sex, is somewhat disturbing

  34. Friday, January 10, 2014 at 14:07

    Is that means Winnie not a real person?? cmon, it cant be right .
    I’m sure he is real person

  35. jj said,

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 3:57

    Robbie, Kanga and Roo were not added by Disney. They make their appearance in the first book at the chagrin of the other characters who can’t figure out where they come from. Kanga and Roo show up and disrupt the community with their arrival, and Pooh and his friends have to figure out how to incorporate them into their idyllic existence.

    I like the application of Bettelheim here. And it is NOT strange to incorporate his or Freud’s ideas of the psychologically and emotionally complex child to Winnie the Pooh. A.A. Milne was born and raised at the turn of the century that saw a great shift in ideas about children and their psychological capabilities. Think Peter Pan. The inner workings of the child and the idea of imperial nostalgia for an Edenic childhood reigned in this time after World War I and the growing disillusionment society- Pooh is not just about a stuffed bear.

  36. Matthew said,

    Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 13:19

    It is unfortunate that this nonsense comes up at the top of the search for “winnie the pooh analysis.” A perfect example of thoughtless masturbatory analysis.

  37. Kristopher Walker said,

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 21:16

    Kanga and Roo weren’t made by Disney. They were in A.A. Milne’s stories, specifically, Chapter VII – “In Which Kanga and Roo Come to the Forest, and Piglet Has a Bath”.

    Now, Gopher was made by Disney. But he was the only one.

  38. jimmy g. said,

    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 3:36

    Fascinating! I was just curious to know was what “Pooh” ment. You people have blown my mind…….nlol.

  39. S said,

    Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 11:24

    You are an ass. Ruining my childhood.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: