Study Guide

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Friendship

By A. A. Milne

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And the first person he thought of was Christopher Robin. (Winnie-the-Pooh.1.41) 

This is right after Pooh's encounter with the Gorse-bush, which we know is more than just a gorse-bush (See "Symbols"). This is our first sign of the profound, genuine emotional connection between Pooh and Christopher Robin—in a time of need, Pooh automatically goes to his friend.

"Hallo, Pooh," he said. "How's things?" 

"Terrible and Sad," said Pooh, "because Eeyore, who is a friend of mine, has lost his tail. And he is moping about it." (Winne-the-Pooh.4.31-32)

Friendship is a two-way street. It requires empathy, understanding and perspective. Pooh cares so much for his friend that Eeyore's sadness makes him sad too. Awwww.

So Kanga and Roo stayed in the Forest. And every Tuesday Roo spent the day with his great friend Rabbit, and every Tuesday Kanga spent the day with her great friend Pooh, teaching him to jump, and every Tuesday Piglet spent the day with his great friend Christopher Robin. So they were all happy again. (Winnie-the-Pooh.7.157)

Enough said... okay we can never say enough. These are all such ordinary things, but for Milne, doing ordinary things with friends is the source of all sorts of happiness. So go see your friends! But come back and finish reading the Learning Guide, too. Promise?

It would have been jolly to talk like this, and really, it wasn't much good having anything exciting like floods, if you couldn't share them with somebody. (Winnie-the-Pooh.9.2)

Unique experiences are pretty amazing, but what good are they if you can't share them with someone? That time you blew a bubble that was actually the size of your face? When someone needed your help snuggling this dog while he ran a quick errand? The cloud that looked just like the dude from Roger Rabbit who was a human but turns into a cartoon and his eyes pop out and his voice gets all squealy and stuff? Those once-in-a-lifetime experiences don't mean as much unless you can share them with loved ones. We are a social species, after all. 

"Well done, Piglet," said Christopher Robin. And at these encouraging words Piglet felt quite happy again […] they all went off together hand-in-hand. (House.3.122-123)

Friends have a way of picking you up when you're down. Thanks, CR.

It suddenly came over him [Piglet] that nobody had ever picked Eeyore a bunch of violets, and the more he thought of this, the more he thought how sad it was to be an Animal who had never had a bunch of violets picked for him. (House.5.85)

It's the little things. Sure, violets in and of themselves aren't that amazing, but to know that your friend was just thinking about you, and went out of his way to do something nice just because? We all have a thing or two to learn from Piglet. Really. Just ask our significant others.

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you." (House.7.88-91)

Sometimes just knowing your friend is there is enough. Someone should turn this into a greeting card. Oh, wait

Half-way between Pooh's house and Piglet's house was a Thoughtful Spot where they met sometimes when they decided to go and see each other, and as it was warm and out of the wind they would sit there for a little and wonder what they would do now that they <em>had</em> seen each other. (House.8.1)

Of all the relationships in the Pooh books, we here at Shmoop think Pooh and Piglet is the best example of Friendship According to A. A. Milne. You see, it's very casual, genuine, and thoughtful. They don't need a plan; it's just the natural thing to do to get together, because life is better when you're together. Even if it's just sitting out of the wind and doing nothing. 

"Where are we going?" said Pooh, hurrying after him, and wondering whether it was to be an Explore or a What-shall-I-do-about-you-know-what. (House.10.26)

Good friends are up for anything. Pooh is ready to go wherever Christopher Robin takes him, even without knowing where or why. But the key here is that Pooh's also ready to take on different roles as CR's friend. He could be the carefree companion who goes for an Explore, or he could be the caring listener and advisor that helps a friend in need. For Milne, true friends serve many functions for each other. And yes, actual stuffed animals can be emotional companions for actual children. 

"Pooh, <em>promise</em> you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred." (House.10.66)

As we get older, we probably know this better than we'd like to: friends lose touch. For Milne, that doesn't mean you're not friends anymore, though. So, to all our friends out there, we're sorry we haven't responded to your emails with links to cute cat videos. Though we particularly like this one. It's just that, well, you know, um...we still love you,

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