Winnie-the-Pooh | Study Guide

A.A. Milne

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Winnie-the-Pooh | Chapter 8 : In Which Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the North Pole | Summary

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Summary

Eager to share his newest Good song with Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh finds his friend putting on Big Boots. These signal adventure, and Pooh is excited. Christopher Robin is mounting an expedition to discover the North Pole, which is "just a thing you discover." Christopher Robin has Pooh gather everyone and tell them to bring provisions. Piglet is nervous, afraid they will discover a fierce animal, but because Christopher Robin will be there, he doesn't mind. Soon all are ready at the top of the Forest. Eeyore is complaining that with Rabbit's many relations, it isn't an expedition but rather "a Confused Noise." Rabbit takes his place up front, and the expedition begins.

Pooh is singing a new song when Christopher Robin stops the line "Hush, we're just coming to a Dangerous Place." They are at a stream that twists and tumbles between rocky banks, and Christopher Robin thinks it a place for an ambush; the troops proceed cautiously. When they reach a wider bank, Christopher Robin halts the group. It is time to eat the Provisions. Eeyore has no provisions, but luckily Pooh is sitting on a prickly thistle. Christopher Robin takes Rabbit aside; Rabbit feels important. Hesitating, Christopher Robin must ask Rabbit what the North Pole looks like; he has forgotten, but so has Rabbit. They decide it must look just like a pole. Meanwhile Roo is washing his face and paws in the stream and falls in. Roo is thrilled, but the others are worried and try to help. Piglet jumps up and down, Owl explains things, Kanga makes comforting noises, and Eeyore hangs his tail in the water. Christopher Robin and Rabbit hurry to find something for Roo to grab. Pooh stands two pools below Roo, waiting with a long pole in his hand. Kanga takes one end of it, and Roo drifts up against it. Pooh explains he found the pole and thought it might be useful.

Christopher Robin announces the expedition is over: Pooh has found the North Pole. Of course, no one has told Eeyore to remove his tail from the cold water or that Roo has been rescued. The expedition over, Pooh goes home and has a little something.

Analysis

Once again Winnie-the-Pooh is stumped by Eeyore's sarcasm and answers him sincerely when he says, "I thought you were saying how sorry you were about my tail, being all numb, and could you do anything to help?" "No," said Pooh, "That wasn't me ... perhaps it was somebody else."

The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration ended in 1917, and there is little doubt boys everywhere played explorer. The misapprehension about the nature of the pole is an amusing reminder that children often interpret things literally. A pole is a pole; the stick as a representation of the recently discovered Pole is Milne's language play but also a true reflection of child's play particularly because no one in the expedition, not even Christopher Robin, knows what the North Pole looks like.

To make it official, Christopher Robin marks the historic spot with a sign. The sign, an often-used symbol in Winnie-the-Pooh, indicates a character's relationship with print. If it is written, it really happened. A sign is a concrete reminder of the day's events.

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