Meet literature`s outsider: Eeyore

Last Updated: May 10, 2011, 16:49 PM IST

Spicezee Bureau

London: There are hardly any gloomy characters bestowed with so much love. Meet Eeyore, AA Milne’s gloomy donkey, who turns 140 today.

Traditionally, Eeyore receives a balloon from Piglet, or an empty honey jar from Winnie-the-Pooh on his birthday. Apparently, Winnie-the-Pooh stories are part of our daily lives. We have grown up reading them and we read them to our children. Even as each character is loveable, Eeyore seems to have found a special place in our hearts. We are drawn towards him, his sadness is our sadness.

In literary terminology, Eeyore is the typical outsider even as Pooh, Owl, Piglet and the rest dwell happily at Hundred Acre Wood. “I have my friends,” Eeyore says ruefully. “Somebody spoke to me only yesterday. And was it last week or the week before that Rabbit bumped into me and said `Bother!` The Social Round. Always something going on.”

In fact, like all outsiders, Eeyore thinks. While all other animals enjoy their daily lives, Eeyore wrestles with rationality.

Eeyore’s tragedy lies in his excessive thinking. As Benjamin Hoff said, “Eeyore can`t enjoy life because his mind is clouded with thoughts that cut him off from the world around him – which, in the case of Hundred Acre Wood, is a beautiful one. He can`t live the simple, spontaneous and joyful life of Pooh – a Bear of Very Little Brain, maybe, but the happiest character in the wood because of it.”

Eeyore is melancholic character on the brink of absurdity. He is profoundly conflicted. He craves for love but struggles to give and receive it. It`s this conflict that humanises Eeyore. Happy birthday Eeyore!

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