Study Guide

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Foolishness and Folly

By A. A. Milne

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Foolishness and Folly

For the most part, Foolishness and Folly are the source of humor in the <em>Winnie-the-Pooh</em> books. Who doesn't like some good slapstick, after all? Milne makes these traits oddly and profoundly endearing. Take Pooh, for example, the Bear of Very Little Brain. He's dim. He's clumsy. He's forgetful. But you can't help but love him. That's the way it is with all these characters. We love them in spite of and usually because of their foolishness. Maybe because it's so innocent, almost nostalgic. It reminds us of what children are like as they learn to navigate the serious world they live in. You can't fault them for making a few mistakes, can you?

Questions About Foolishness and Folly

  1. Why is there so much silliness in the books? Is it just for the humor, or does Milne have a deeper message?                                 
  2. We like to think that the characters' silliness allows children to feel like they're in the know. Can you think of some examples where young readers would know more than the characters?         
  3. Milne includes both broad slapstick humor and subtle irony and wit. What functions do the different kinds of humor serve in these books?

Chew on This

In spite of his foolishness, Pooh is actually the wisest character in the book.

Milne believes that being foolish is a fundamental part of being a kid. You grow out of it as you get older, or at least it becomes less acceptable.

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Foolishness and Folly Study Group

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