Leaving Eden

A hallmark of Eden is that it doesn’t change.  When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, it wasn’t Eden that changed, but them.  Innocence is not an eternal condition and time brings innocence into direct conflict with the realities of life.  This is the real inescapable foe, time and the psychological changes it brings with it.

In the hundred-acre wood, Winne the Pooh and his friends and neighbors live in a timeless sort of Eden.  It is the memory of childhood as an idyllic community outside of the passage of time.  It’s this aspect of Edenic literature, which Milne captures so well.  Yet, it’s the leaving of Eden that creates its immortality in our hearts, the break from the innocence creates the longing, and in Pooh this leaving is handled in an idyllic manner where the relationship between Christopher Robin and Pooh remains valued without diminishing the necessity of the parting.

Without the parting, Eden becomes a trap or a prison. Milne became trapped by the Eden he created, typecast as a children’s author, as did his son who the public refused to allow to grow up in the way the fictional Robin did (McGavran, 1998, p. 190).  So too does the desire to recreate an Edenic place in the world, to deny the loss of innocence, create the conditions for imprisonment of the psyche and an unwillingness to grow.

McGavran, J. H. (Ed.). (1998). Literature and the child: Romantic continuations, postmodern contestations. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

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