Study Guide

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Life, Consciousness, and Existence

By A. A. Milne

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Life, Consciousness, and Existence

Amazingly, Winnie-the-Pooh includes a ton of amazing philosophical moments. And we here at Shmoop are certainly not the first ones to consider this. Along with all Pooh's David Carradine Kung Fu moments, Milne includes bushels of insight into how children begin to learn about life, consciousness and existence. In psychological research, aspects of this form a "Theory of Mind," which explains how kids learn (and they have to learn) that other people can have different thought than they do and experience the world in different ways. 

Questions About Life, Consciousness, and Existence

  1. Pooh has a lot to say about existence and the way the world works.Does he have the innocent perspective of a child? Or the wise point of view ofa peaceful philosopher?
  2. Milne has spoken openly—albeit briefly—challenging the Christian church that dominated existential thought in his society. How do his agnostic/atheistic leanings come through in the world he creates in the Forest? 
  3. Milne writes as if Christopher Robin's imaginary play has created a very real, complex world in which he plays. Should we consider a child's fantasy play "real" or "serious?"         

Chew on This

Ignorance is bliss. Or, if not ignorance, being of Very Little Brain...

Milne writes his characters as if they are who they are, and there's no changing that. His message? Know your role and stick to it. Extra credit: Was Milne influenced by the rather inflexible British class structure of his day?

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