Literature is a part of mankind’s culture rich in diversity and creativity. Not only do writers create textual art but the reading of it is quite of an art as well. During my studies at the English Department at Vaxjo University I have encountered a very small portion of this art and have also been taught some ways in which texts can be read and understood. Now that literature is the field to which I have chosen to dedicate my third semester of English studies it was only natural for me to write my thesis with a focus on literary theory and criticism.
According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (813), to “interpret” is to “explain the meaning of something” and an “interpretation” is the “particular way in which something is understood or explained”. The novel subject to interpretation in this paper is the endlessly popular children’s novel Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, first published in 1926. The storyline consists of bedtime stories told to the child Christopher Robin by an adult, presumably one of his parents.
The stories themselves are set in the Hundred Acre Wood where Christopher Robin lives together with his many friends of soft toys, the most beloved one being Winnie-the-Pooh. Though the novel itself is largely child-oriented, one cannot read the sarcasms of Eeyore, imagine the anxiety-plagued life of Piglet or follow Winnie-the-Pooh in his addiction to honey without sensing something more lurking between the lines. Many aspects of the novel seem not as parts of a literary work created purely for the pleasure of children; sarcasm, for instance, is not a linguistic element commonly known to be entertaining to or understood by children.
There always seems to be more than that which is explicitly said in the novel. In this essay, the relationships between the characters and the characters themselves are of utmost importance; the framework used analyse them is psychoanalytic literary criticism, a form of criticism drawing on the work by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and further enriched by philosopher Jacques Lacan. The stories of Christopher Robin living in the Hundred Acre Wood necessitate the questions of why he lives alone and why only with his toys. Pondering upon these questions and the nature of the characters I have created my interpretation.