The Good and the Grief

Charles Schulz's Peanuts, about to retire after five decades, made loneliness and anxiety funny

  • Share
  • Read Later

(2 of 2)

Big sentiments from a kid with 6-in. legs. But Schulz did not draw little adults; he drew out with subtle humor the anxieties children and adults shared in his era. Though Peanuts was hardly political, the atomic peril, for instance, crept in. "On Tuesdays I worry about personality problems," said Charlie Brown in 1960. "Thursday is my day for worrying about the world getting blown up." Schulz didn't cram those thoughts into his kids' basketball-size heads. Oppenheimer and Khrushchev beat him to it.

Most of us will lose more often than we win. That's the joke of Peanuts. Schulz made it funny with characters who faced a Sisyphean suburban world of kite-eating trees and yanked-away footballs with resilience and curiosity. Sincere as a pumpkin patch, his lifework is a reminder that self-awareness and a refined sense of irony do not mean affectlessness, that being a loser does not mean being defeated.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next Page