The Tao of Pooh


Benjamin Hoff

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The Tao of Pooh Characters

Benjamin Hoff

The author of The Tao of Pooh is an American Taoist who uses Winnie the Pooh to illustrate the central concepts and principles in Taoism (like Tao, P’u, and Wu Wei). Throughout… read analysis of Benjamin Hoff


The novel’s central character is the protagonist of the Winnie-the-Pooh books and, according to Benjamin Hoff, a model Taoist sage. Hoff argues that Pooh Bear has the kind of mindset that Taoists strive to… read analysis of Winnie-the-Pooh


In the Winnie-the-Pooh books, Piglet is Pooh’s best friend and frequent companion. He’s kind and loving, but also shy and cowardly, in part because he’s a “Very Small Animal.” As a result, the other… read analysis of Piglet


In the Winnie-the-Pooh books, Rabbit is a sociable, energetic, obsessive, and bossy animal who is always trying to organize and direct everyone else. Much like Owl, he tends to think that he’s smarter than… read analysis of Rabbit


In the Winnie-the-Pooh books, Eeyore is a miserable, pessimistic donkey who spends his time wallowing around his riverbank, worrying and complaining. The other characters constantly look out for him and try to brighten his mood… read analysis of Eeyore
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In the Winnie-the-Pooh books, Owl is a scholarly old owl who lives in the Hundred Acre Wood. He thinks he’s highly intelligent, and everyone seems to agree with him. But actually, Owl’s abstract knowledge is… read analysis of Owl


In the Winnie-the-Pooh books, Tigger is a hyperactive, self-confident tiger who bounces around the Hundred Acre Wood on his spring-like tail. For Hoff, Tigger’s bounce illustrates why people ought to understand their inner nature—when… read analysis of Tigger

Bisy Backson

Bisy Backsons are people who live “almost desperately active” lives pursuing their goals. Unlike Taoists, they’re constantly going somewhere, doing something, and fighting for some “Great Reward.” Unfortunately, Hoff argues, they only frustrate and embitter… read analysis of Bisy Backson

Christopher Robin

In the Winnie-the-Pooh books, Christopher Robin is a young boy who lives near the Hundred Acre Wood and befriends Pooh, Piglet, and the other animals. Notably, he helps rescue them when they run… read analysis of Christopher Robin
Minor Characters
In the Winnie-the-Pooh books, Roo is a young kangaroo who gets roped into the other characters’ adventures. In one memorable scene, he falls into a stream, and Pooh saves him. Hoff uses this episode to illustrate the importance of compassion or care.
Confucius was a highly influential ancient Chinese philosopher. His teachings—which are known as Confucianism—set the foundation for much of Chinese culture throughout the ages.
Lao-tse was the ancient Chinese philosopher who founded Taoism. He wrote Taoism’s most important text, the Tao Te Ching, which Hoff repeatedly cites throughout The Tao of Pooh. (His name is also spelled Laozi or Lao Tzu.)
Chuang-tse (also known as Zhuangzi or Zhuang Zhou) is one of the two central ancient Chinese Taoist philosophers, along with Taoism’s founder Lao-tse. Hoff frequently cites parables from Chuang-tse’s collected writings, which are commonly known as The Book of Chuang-tse or The Zhuangzi.
The Unbeliever
The Unbeliever is Benjamin Hoff’s friend, who tells him that “the Great Masters of Wisdom” are all from the East and doesn’t believe that Pooh has anything to do with Taoism.