Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Good Ol' Charlie Brown

Of all characters in literature, one I have always felt the most personally connected to is Charlie Brown. There was always something in his persona that I related to, from childhood all the way to my early 20's - and still do, in away. when I see his image, I can feel myself quietly nodding in recognition.

In his voluminous biography on Charles M. Schulz, Schulz and Peanuts, David Michaelis describes Charlie Brown as not an alter ego of Schulz, but Schulz himself. Most of the Peanuts characters were in fact manifestations of people whom the cartoonist knew, funneled through his brilliant minds' - eye,  like the Little Red Haired Girl, the one that got away, and Snoopy, based on an actual childhood pet. 

But as accurately as he rendered these relationships, Charlie Brown was the most realistic of all. the eternal optimist, always bracing for failure. Like his creator eventually would, you knew somehow, some way he'd succeed. He would kick that football, he would eventually untangle that kite from the tree.  

That's why he was the kind of guy you called by his full name.  So you wouldn't forget it.

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