October 31, 2006

The Great Pumpkin

Posted in culture, fiction, film, novelists, psychology of religion at 2:18 pm by Jerry

I just watched the Charlie Brown Hallowe’en episode on Becky’s blog, called The Great Pumpkin. I loved it! In this episode, the writer Charles M. Schulz chose “sincerity” instead of “faith” to describe one of the tenets of the Great Pumpkin belief. How fitting, don’t you think? Sincerity addresses more than a rational justification. It acknowledges authentic feelings without contradictions.


n 1: an earnest and sincere feeling [syn: earnestness, seriousness] 2: the quality of being open and truthful; not deceitful or hypocritical; “his sincerity inspired belief”; “they demanded some proof of my sincerity” [ant: insincerity] 3: a quality of naturalness and simplicity; “the simple sincerity of folk songs” [syn: unassumingness] 4: the trait of being serious; “a lack of solemnity is not necessarily a lack of seriousness”- Robert Rice [syn: seriousness, earnestness, serious-mindedness] [ant: frivolity]


I have to compliment Linus (the Great Pumpkin believer) on the power of his imagination. It was evidently strong, especially at the end of the episode. Which makes me wonder – with a mind like that, why did he choose to, exclusively, concentrate the focus of his imagination on that particular belief, avoiding contradictory ideologies outside of its circumference of belief?

Mark Twain says…

You can’t trust your eyes if your imagination is out of focus.

…but can you trust them if your imagination is focused only on a small area, making it impossible to see anything beyond its circumference?

Here’s a couple of inserts from the Wikipedia article called “The Great Pumpkin”:

According to Linus, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch he finds to be most “sincere“. (“Look around you! Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see!”) The Great Pumpkin then flies through the air to deliver toys to all the good little children in the world. In one strip, Linus claims that the Great Pumpkin has in fact been seen by people other than himself in pumpkin patches across the country, if not the world, indicating that if the Great Pumpkin is indeed imaginary, his existence is at least believed in by people other than (and even more suggestible than) Linus. The fact that Linus is, aside from his pumpkin faith, one of the most sober-minded characters in the strip seems to be a point in his favor, and adds great irony to his irrational belief in the imaginary vegetable.

[…]Stressing the importance of faith in the Great Pumpkin, Linus states that one must never say “If the Great Pumpkin comes”, but rather, “When the Great Pumpkin comes”; a lack of sufficient faith, he avers, might cause the Great Pumpkin to pass one by at the critical time.

In the words of Charlie Brown, “Good Grief!” But maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on Linus. He has a psychological need for various “security blankets,” a phrase coined by the Charlie Brown strip.

Happy Hallowe’en!!


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