Study Guide

Piglet in The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh

By A. A. Milne

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The Only Thing We Have to Fear…

An adorable little ball of anxiety, that Piglet. Milne tells us more about Piglet's internal world than probably any other character. And more than any other character, what Piglet portrays to the world is different from what he feels inside. Most of the time, he's scared but finds a way to look brave.

...Is a Woozle.

Like when he and Pooh are tracking the Woozle, and Pooh spots an extra set of footprints. "'What?' said Piglet, with a jump. And then, to show he hadn't been frightened, he jumped up and down once or twice in an exercising sort of way" (Winnie-the-Pooh.3.22). Because of course doing random jumping jacks is more normal than being frightened by a potentially dangerous (albeit completely made-up) creature.

Courage under fire

It turns out that in pretending to be brave, Piglet actually does some pretty courageous things.When he and Pooh are stuck in a Very Deep Pit themselves, Piglet imagines talking to a fierce Heffalump.

He thought suddenly, and a little sadly, that it would have been rather nice if it had been Piglet and the Heffalump talking so grandly to each other […] and it would have been comforting afterwards in the evenings to look back on the day when he answered a Heffalump back as bravely as if the Heffalump wasn't there. It seemed so easy now. (House.3.76.)

If we were cynical here at Shmoop, we might say that Piglet is being brave for all the wrong reasons: he wants the glory, he wants the comfort after the whole ordeal is over. But we're not—at least not right now—so we'll think of another way of looking at it. Milne sees actions in a timeless kind of way. He shows us Piglet's anticipation, the actual occurrence, and a possible outcome.

Much of the time, anticipation prevents Piglet (and us) from doing things, because it takes the form of anxiety—a bad thing's going to happen afterward. But this time, there's a positive result. Piglet imagines the good outcome, and he wants that, so he steps up to be brave. In the end, he ends up actually talking to what he thinks is a Heffalump.

By the end of the books, Piglet has grown very brave indeed, willing to sacrifice his own home to give to Owl. The grand action comes on the heels of hearing Pooh's epic ballad to yours truly. "And then Piglet did a Noble Thing, and he did it in a sort of dream, while he was thinking of all the wonderful words Pooh had hummed about him" (House.9.85). The most amazing thing about Piglet's courage is how it continues to evolve and build on itself. Having done a courageous thing, and having heard a song about, it's as if he suddenly sees himself as a very Brave and Noble Piglet, so he goes on doing more great things. 

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