3

“Hallo, Eeyore,” they called out cheerfully.

“Ah!” said Eeyore. “Lost your way?”

“We just came to see you,” said Piglet. “And to see how your house was. Look, Pooh, it's still standing!”

“I know,” said Eeyore. “Very odd. Somebody ought to have come down and pushed it over.”

“We wondered whether the wind would blow it down,” said Pooh.

“Ah, that's why nobody's bothered, I suppose. I thought perhaps they'd forgotten.”

“Well, we're very glad to see you, Eeyore, and now we're going on to see Owl.”

“That's right. You'll like Owl. He flew past a day or two ago and noticed me. He didn't actually say anything, mind you, but he knew it was me. Very friendly of him, I thought. Encouraging.

Pooh and Piglet shuffled about a little and said, “Well, good-bye, Eeyore” as lingeringly as they could, but they had a long way to go, and wanted to be getting on.

“Good-bye,” said Eeyore. “Mind you don't get blown away, little Piglet. You'd be missed. People would say 'Where's little Piglet been blown to?'-really wanting to know. Well, good-bye. And thank you for happening to pass me.”

“Good-bye,” said Pooh and Piglet for the last time, and they pushed on to Owl's house.

This is from "The House at Pooh Corner". Eeyore said, “That's right. You'll like Owl. He flew past a day or two ago and noticed me. He didn't actually say anything, mind you, but he knew it was me. Very friendly of him, I thought. Encouraging.

Is this an irony? Did Eeyore feel disgusted about owl's attitude? Or did Eeyore really appreciate that owl didn't say anything and did Eeyore think that he is very friendly?

2 Answers 2

3

Eeyore generally assumes the worst, and is surprised when it doesn't happen. In particular, he thinks that nobody wants to spend time with him. Note how the conversation begins:

“Hallo, Eeyore,” they called out cheerfully.

“Ah!” said Eeyore. “Lost your way?”

Eeyore assumes that Pooh and Piglet would never come to see him on purpose, so they must have stumbled across him by accident.

As I see it, there are two possible ways to interpret Eeyore's statement about Owl:

  1. Eeyore is being ironic, because he thought Owl was neglecting him by not bothering to stop and say hello.

  2. Eeyore is being sincere, because he is so pessimistic that a friend passing by without saying hello is still more attention than he expects to get.

I think the first explanation is the better one, because later in the book, Eeyore complains to Rabbit about a time that Rabbit passed by and did say hello:

‘... I make it seventeen days come Friday since anybody spoke to me[,’ said Eeyore.]

...

‘... I was here myself a week ago[,’ said Rabbit.]

‘Not conversing,’ said Eeyore. ‘Not first one and then the other. You said “Hallo” and Flashed Past. ...’

So it doesn't make sense that he would sincerely appreciate Owl when Owl did even less.

1

This is a book for children. The humour is broad and obvious. Eeyore is very sad and gloomy, but would like to be cheery. He has a house that should have fallen down by now, and rather than be grateful it is still up, he is a little irritated that nobody has bothered to push it down. His friends, in mentioning the wind might blow it down, actually cheer him up by giving him another explanation for why nobody came to push it down: they thought the wind would. Similarly, he speaks warmly and kindly of another friend who he only spotted from a distance, but who he is sure noticed him in a friendly way.

This contrast between Eeyore's preoccupation with doom and the actual warmth and delight with with he receives and speaks of his friends is supposed to be funny. It is insightful, too:

People would say 'Where's little Piglet been blown to?'-really wanting to know.

This passage speaks to the habit many people have of asking where someone has got to without really caring or wanting to know. Eeyore assures Piglet that even if he suffered the awful fate of being blown away, his friends would care and would genuinely want to know where he was.

Eeyore is funny because he is silly -- because of the contrast and contradiction between the warm happy thoughts he has about his friends and the sad subject matter he chooses (and in the movies, the slow morose tone of voice he uses.) Even in the books it's clear he's not a peppy cheery character at all.

2
  • 2
    I feel this interpretation is a bit off. For example, when Eeyore says that people would "really [want] to know" if something happened to Piglet, the implication is that Eeyore believes no one would care if something happened to him; he is contrasting Piglet's situation with his own (or rather, what he imagines his own to be). The emphasis is not on Eeyore's warmth, but his self-pity.
    – MJ713
    May 1, 2023 at 3:18
  • It is both: the contrast between his self-talk and the way he talks to and about his friends May 1, 2023 at 17:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.