I realized this year, Charles M. Schulz teaches his audience a powerful lesson in his 1966 classic animated television special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Maybe, that’s why it has been shown every year at Halloween for the past 46 years. It has withstood the test of society’s fickle nature and recent fascination towards reality TV.
Oh, but this animated story is very real! The story is not about a giant orange fruit (yes, it is a fruit.) It’s not about Charlie Brown. And it’s not about tricks or treats. So what is it about?
It’s about Linus, the clingy, passionate kid and his desire and dream. And a bunch of bullies who attempt to take the wind out of his sails.
While Linus is writing a letter to The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, the down on his luck, ‘I got a rock’ kid, interupts his best friend.
“You must be crazy! When are you going to stop believing in something that’s not real?”
Linus quickly replies with conviction, “When you stop believing in a man in a red suit who goes ‘Ho, Ho,Ho!'”
ATTA BOY LINUS. Give ’em hell!
Snoopy, the mischievous beagle, laughs hysterically at Linus, who continues to write his letter. Linus can’t even gain the favor of man’s best friend. (I know, Snoopy is not his dog.)
Lucy, his own sister, the high on her horse girl, tells him, “You make me the laughing stock of the neighborhood.” She is only concerned about what effect Linus’s actions have on her status with her peers.
Linus is the object of affection for Sally, the smitten in love kid. She supports him, initially, before times get tough. When her friends return from trick-or-treating, Sally realizes she is left empty handed. She then belts out, “I was supposed to get candy apples and gum and cookies and money…What a fool I was.” She grabs hold of Linus, shakes him violently, “You owe me restitution…” How quickly her love and support fades in the absence of material wealth.
Linus is made to feel ignorant and insignificant by his closest companions. I’m sure we all know someone who exhibits the personality of these characters. (And don’t forget Schroeder, the artistic, musically talented kid, Peppermint Patty, the “omboy/jock kid, Marcy, the brainy kid, and Pig-Pen, the always into something dirty kid.)
Despite the constant rejection, Linus perseveres with his plan. He continues to believe. He still has passion, although his confidence is visibly shaken.
While sitting alone in the pumpkin patch he speaks,”…if the Great Pumpkin comes… Good grief! I said ‘If.’ I meant when he comes. I’m doomed…”
Lucy wakes from the comfort of her bed at 4 AM, and goes outside to retrieve her brother, finally showing some compassion. She finds him shivering and sleeping under his security blanket, the only thing he can rely on to never give up on him. Lucy leads him home and tucks him into bed.
The point is, Linus never gave up. He was true to himself. He wasn’t going to trust the degrading criticism of others, the naysayers. He risked being cold and lonely, on a dark and scary night, when people disguise themselves, in order to pursue his passion, his dream of meeting The Great Pumpkin.
Linus’s dream never came true, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort!
Keep dreaming Linus. You’re not alone. At one time or another, we have all sat alone desperately waiting for a miracle. We have all been disappointed. We have all been ridiculed and laughed at, told our dreams are just that, figments of our imagination.
We all have our pumpkin patches!
We are all in search of The Great Pumpkin.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.