Title: Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets Into a Tight Space
Author: A. A. Milne
Genre: Children’s Story
Audience: Children of all ages, including adults
Winnie-the-Pooh is a Bear of Very Little Brain, a dumpy stuffed bear brought to life by Milne’s vivid imagination. He has a taste for poetry, humming and hunny and is always looking for something to eat–a habit which can sometimes get him into trouble. One of his most endearing qualities is his humility. He is friends with everyone in the Forest, but his closest relationships are with Piglet, who does not appear in this story, and Christopher Robin. Protagonist.
Christopher Robin is a boy, about six years old, with yellow hair and a sweet temperament. To him all of the animals come for help or advice. He always saves the day. While he has a unique relationship with each of the animals in the Forest, Pooh is his closest and dearest friend. Protagonist.
The large brown whiskered Rabbit thinks very highly of himself and his learning. He tends to look down his nose on the others in the Forest except for Owl, who does not appear in this story, and Christopher Robin. He is very brisk and business-like and is never happier than when in charge of something. He enjoys ordering others about.
Rabbit’s friends-and-relations play a minor part in the story, only coming in at the end to help out. They are remarkable only for their vast number and inclination to show up at the unlikeliest of times.
Point of View
A. A. Milne, the author.
It does not specify what time of year it is, but by the pictures and descriptions I would place this story sometime in late spring or early summer. Most of the action occurs between eleven o’ clock and about twelve o’ clock, but the story continues for a week after this.
Winnie-the-Pooh goes on a walk in the summer and decides to stop by Rabbit’s house for a visit. While there he eats so much honey and condensed milk that when he tries to leave he becomes stuck in Rabbit’s front door. Rabbit fetches Christopher Robin, who decides that the only way to get Pooh out is to let him get thin for a week. During that week Christopher Robin reads to Pooh’s face and Rabbit hangs his washing on Pooh’s legs. Then Christopher Robin, Rabbit, and Rabbit’s friends-and-relations pull him out of the door. Once out, Pooh thanks his friends and goes on with his walk.
Bear vs. Rabbit: This is a minor conflict, added for humor and whimsy. Rabbit pretends not to be at home when Pooh is trying to get into his house. The tension between the two continues when Pooh blocks Rabbit’s front door for a week.
Bear vs. environment: This is a major conflict in the story. Pooh finds himself wedged in Rabbit’s rather slender front door and has to remain there for a week until he gets thin enough to fit through.
While I think that this story was mainly written as a fun tale for children with no intention of teaching a lesson, I think that kids could take away from this a better understanding of the rules of etiquette. Don’t overeat when you are a guest at someone’s house!
Repetition: “‘It all comes,’ said Rabbit sternly, ‘of eating too much. I thought at the time,’ said Rabbit, ‘only I didn’t like to say anything,’ said Rabbit, ‘that one of us was eating too much,’ said Rabbit, ‘and I knew it wasn’t me,’ he said.”
Periphrasis: “‘Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?’”
Onomatopoeia: “And then, all of a sudden, he said ‘Pop!’ just as if a cork were coming out of a bottle.”
Polysyndeton: “He pulled with his front paws, and pushed with his back paws, and in a little while his nose was out in the open again…and then his ears…and then his front paws…and then his shoulders…and then–”
Capitalization: “‘If I know anything about anything, that hole means Rabbit,’ he said, ‘and Rabbit means Company,’ he said, ‘and Company means Food and Listening-to-Me-Humming and such like.’”
While this is not my favorite Winnie-the-Pooh stories, it is one of the most widely familiar, which is why I chose it. In addition, several of A. A. Milne’s trademark techniques appear in it. It is much shorter than many of his other stories and does not include many of the other Forest creatures, but I think that the simplicity of it helps to highlight the creative touches. Overall, I think it is a delightful tale that any student of children’s stories should look to as a classic from which to reap ideas and inspiration.