L. Ayers
English 355
Literature for Children
February 1, 2001

Pippi Longstocking

Many different critics view Pippi Longstocking equally: Pippi is has an amazingly strong sense-of-self, and she uses that to become a playful, manipulative child. In Laura Hoffeld's review Pippi Longstocking, she states that Pippi's "super strength is emblematic of her ability to make other people do a she wishes" (Hoffeld 48). Pippi is a surprise to her readers because she is so independent. She lives by herself in her own house, cooks her own food, and lives quite well without anyone's help or supervision. Children love this! They especially like how Pippi is portrayed as a child that gets no punishment. To a kid, a world without punishment it heaven on earth!

Pippi's obsession with lying gets her into many predicaments. She tells her friends, Tommy and Annika, that she only does it because of her earlier, unpredictable lifestyle of journeys out to sea. Hoffeld's opinion on Pippi's tall tales says "Lying, if that is what her imaginative storytelling and teasing must be called, makes her happy, while the dull truth makes her sad" (Hoffeld 49). Pippi has no reason to stop stretching the truth because she has no adult role model to guide her in the right direction. "Pippi readily admits to Annika that it is very bad to lie, but at the same time she feels no pangs of conscience about making up tall stories" (Metcalf 6). The adults Pippi comes in contact with throughout the story (policemen, ring master, firemen) all attempt to discipline her, but none of them succeed. However, Mrs. Settergren (Tommy and Annika's mother) seems to overcome that obstacle and she is the first to get through to Pippi. She actually moves Pippi to tears and the rock like exterior that Pippis made of crumbles away leaving us a not-so flat cartoon character without feeling. But, rather a little girl that is lost and is only trying to please those around her with stories of how great her life should be.

Astrid Lindgren is an astounding author that makes Pippi come alive to people of all ages. Her talent to write is one that not many possess. "Because she is well aware of the fact that the pleasure derived from humor stems from the distortion (in fantasy) of previously acquired knowledge and experience, Lindgren limits references and allusions to the cognitive and experiential horizon of children" (Metcalf 2). Lindgren told the Pippi stories to her daughter, Karin, long before they were ever transposed over to paper. Karin was the creator of the name, Pippi. The story of how Pippi originated takes the fairy-tales to a more personal level. One can relate with a mother/daughter relationship and how cherished the time they spent together might be. Pippi was shaped out of love by a mother for her daughter, and that is what entices people to read. Pippi's cheery attitude and crazy adventures attract readers of all ages and that is what Lindgren was striving to accomplish. "Pippi certainly has both the brawn and the brains to come out on top in every situation and to remain her own master" (Metcalf 3). ,.


Hoffeld, Laura. "Pippi Longstocking": The Lion and the Unicorn. Pages 48-49.
Metcalf, Eva-Maria. "Tall Tale and Spectacle in Pippi Longstocking": Children's Literature Association Quarterly. Vol. 15, No. 3, Fall, 1990, pp. 130-35.

This page was last updated Sunday, May 23, 2004
Other pages may have been updated more recently