Thursday, August 21, 2014


I was re-reading Winnie-the-Pooh and House on Pooh Corner.  I found it interesting that the penultimate chapter in the first book is Piglet's rescue from the flood, and the two chapter before the final in the second book are both stories where Piglet does the rescuing.  It made me take a closer look at the heroism of Piglet.

 The first time Piglet comes to the rescue -climbing through Owl's letter box to get help when the house falls over- Pooh talks him into it by promising to write a song about him afterwards.  Piglet wants to be brave -that's foreshadowed in chapter three of House at Pooh Corner when Piglet highjacks Pooh's story about heroically answering back to a heffalump but gets completely flustered as soon as he thinks an actual huffalump is talking to him- and he admires Pooh's courage.  Piglet is very aware that he is vulnerable because he is `a very small animal.'  After Owl's house blows down his smallness becomes a strength instead of a weakness.  He is the only one who can escape for help.

The second rescue -sacrificing his house so Owl won't be homeless and also to save Eeyore from embarrassment- is driven at least partly by Piglet's defining traits of his loyalty as a friend and his role as a peacemaker.  In The House at Pooh Corner when Rabbit is trying to find out where Christopher Robin goes in the morning, Piglet is the one who thinks to cheer Eeyore with violets and then use them as a distraction when Eeyore takes offense at Rabbit.  In the Woozle hunt in the first book, Piglet shows his loyalty.  He may be the first to try to call off the hunt when he realizes that he and Pooh are outnumbered, but he doesn't leave until Christopher Robin appears and he knows Pooh will be protected.

Piglet does not appear heroic in most of the stories; he is mostly small, and friendly, someone who tries to avoid confrontations.  But the groundwork for his heroism is there from the start.  It just needed the right circumstances to shine. 

Monday, August 4, 2014


Last night I went to see a local stage production of Music Man.  The choreography was amazing, especially in scenes like the Fourth of July celebration which always seemed to drag a little in the video but suddenly made sense when I saw it on stage.  The one thing I did have trouble with was the romance.  Marion was perfect in her initial disgust of the professor and in her later love for him, but the change between the two seemed abrupt.  I suspect a lot of the abruptness has to do with when the play was written.

The show did get me thinking about how stories translate in different mediums -and the way art speaks different languages.  For example, my music major friends actually understand the ending of An American in Paris while I always go "yeah, but if they just skipped that big song and dance number they could show the rival guy releasing the girl from her engagement, and the whole story would make more sense."  (Then when I add that if they shortened a few other songs and skipped that one with the piano player it would solve a lot of pacing problems, I get the sad looks reserved for one who has just missed the entire point of the movie.)  My music major friends can see the correlation between the music, the dance, and the emotional turmoil.  For them the story truly does rise to a climax and resolution.  

It's a bit like Gary Chapman's Love Languages.  Maybe people have `soul languages' and that's why there are so many different types of art.