The stuffed toys that come to life and have adventures remain timeless avatars; their personalities and struggles resonate with adults for their hidden complexity, but are easy enough for children to grasp. Pooh is innocence, Piglet is anxiety, Tigger is boisterousness, and Eeyore? Eeyore is bravery.
As a child, I must have watched the various Disney incarnations of Winnie-The-Pooh hundreds of times–kids love repetition, after all. From
I saw Eeyore feeling dejected and depressed and I wanted to make him feel better. “Someone hug him,” I would quietly admonish while eating my Rainbow Brite breakfast cereal. But it was the same every time: there was Eeyore being sad while playing Poohsticks; being sad while living in his little stick house; being sad because he lost his tail, and why won’t someone just sew it on so he’ll stop being sad?
As I got older, that desire to empathize with fictional stuffed animal was transformed by teenage cynicism. I thought the height of maturity was decreeing every member of the Hundred-Acre Wood needed to be medicated for various psychology maladies. I wouldn’t be able to see Eeyore clearly, and why I so desperately wanted him to be happy, until I had kids of my own.
Coming back to
In the episode “Winnie-the-Pooh and a Day for Eeyore,” the gang discovers Eeyore is particularly sad because no one remembered his birthday. Distraught by this oversight, Pooh and Piglet rush home to get gifts for their friend. Pooh tries to give Eeyore a pot of honey but ends up eating it on his way to Eeyore’s house. In a moment of inspiration from Owl, Pooh decides to label the empty jar as a place to store things. Piglet tries to give Eeyore a red balloon but pops it before he arrives. Of course, Eeyore doesn’t mind. He loves the color red and is thrilled to have a place to store the beautiful scrap of rubber and string. In the end, Christopher Robin throws Eeyore a party and Pooh teaches him how to play Poohsticks. It turns out Eeyore is a natural.
So what’s brave about any of this? Eeyore shows up. He accepts his friends’ apologies. If you have ever lived with depression, you know
Throughout his residence in the Hundred-Acre Woods, Eeyore consistently shows up for his friends. When Owl loses his house in