No one ever gets too old for Charlie Brown. Linus who is Charlie Brown’s brother, writes a letter to the Great Pumpkin, an unseen imaginary character, simular to Santa Clause but much less reliable. Linus believes that on Halloween night the Great Pumpkin rises out of the most secure pumpkin patch in town and then flies all over the world delivering toys to all good children everywhere. One year, Linus and Charlie Brown spent the evening waiting in the pumpkin patch. When they hear rustling nearby and then they see something rising out of the patch, Linus, thinking it is indeed the Great Pumpkin, faints, at which point Charlie Brown notices that it is only Snoopy. After coming to, Linus asks Charlie Brown if the Great Pumpkin left any toys, to which Charlie Brown replies, “No toys. Just a used dog.” This is not a story about an enormous pumpkin, or a perfectly shaped pumpkin, as the great pumpkin is about believing in something even though there’s no physical evidence that it actually exists, and Linus is mocked for his blind faith because others doubt. I think that Spookley the Square Pumpkin may be more of a great pumpkin than the actual great pumpkin.
In the movie Back to School, where Rodney Dangerfield plays a rich clothing tycoon who made his fortune in clothes for the stout and tall and he decides to attend college in order to be closer to his son, but he is only trying to fake his way through. His English Professor Diane played by Sally Kellerman says, “This morning we’re going to look at The Great by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Mr. Melon, how would you characterize The Great Gatsby?”, to which Dangerfield said, “He was… uh… great.” Jay Gatsby was wealthy and he held lavish weekly parties in his Long Island mansion and he was able to create the impression of being great. Like Harry Houdini, Gatsby was a compelling and effective illusionist, but that is all he amounted to. Gatsby had his great moments, but his fall from greatness, his tragic disappointingly unremarkable death demonstrates his irrefutable distance from greatness, that he could never really be great. Thus just like the Great Pumpkin was not so great, the Great Gatsby was not either.
Written for Linda G. Hill’s Life in progress One-Liner Wednesday – Charlie Brown’s Pumpkin?