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Good Old Charlie Schulz
Cartoonist Charles Schulz, creator of 'Peanuts',
FILE/BEN MARGOT/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Because of his keen insights into the nature of things, as well as his graphic genius, Schulz left a lasting artistic legacy to the world. While cultural mavens have seldom granted the lowly comic strip any aesthetic value, he moved his feature in an artistic direction that was minimalist in style but richly suggestive in content.
Charlie Brown and his friends were occupied with what has possessed and continues to obsess all of us--the relationship of the self to society, the need to establish an identity, anxiety over our neurotic behavior, and a desire to gain control over our own destinies.
We admire Charlie because of his resilience, his ability to confront and humanize the impersonal forces around him, and his unwavering faith in his ability to improve himself and his options in life. Maybe this time he can kick that football held by Lucy.
In his insecurities and defeats, his affirmations and small victories, Charlie is someone with whom we can identify. Through him we can all experience a revival of the spirit and a healing of the psyche. This has been Schulz's amazing gift to us through his small drawings appearing in the pages of the comic section of the newspaper. He used to laugh when I told him his work was art, but "Peanuts" was the kind of art that endures because it continues to speak to our lives.
M. Thomas Inge is professor of humanities at Randolph-Macon College, where he teaches American humor, Southern literature, and comic art. He edited "My Life With Charlie Brown" by Charles M. Schulz, published by the University Press