The Tao Of Pooh Summary and Study Guide

Benjamin Hoff

The Tao Of Pooh

  • 28-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 9 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a college professor with a Master's degree in English Literature
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The Tao Of Pooh Summary and Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 28-page guide for “The Tao Of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 9 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Taoism and Wu Wei.

Plot Summary

The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff, is an introduction to the philosophy of Taoism. Hoff uses Winnie-the-Pooh and other characters from A.A. Milne’s well-known children books to exemplify and explain these principles. The primary character, Pooh, exhibits many qualities that produce contentment. The literal meaning of Tao is “the way,” and the goal of the way is the kind of contentment that Pooh possesses.

Many of the book’s passages are devoted to Taoist concepts such as the Empty Mind, Wu Wei, and the Uncarved Block. Hoff populates the allegory with Milne’s characters, who variously represent both characteristics that should be developed as well as those to be avoided. In addition to the Milne characters, Hoff includes other stories and parables to illustrate Taoist principles.

At the outset, Hoff states the purpose of the book: “It’s about how to stay happy and calm under all circumstances” (x). Yet, he cautions that the truth will be obscured from the reader who tries too hard to understand. Hoff includes examples of each of the principles to guide readers toward an implicit understanding of Tao.

In fact, Hoff stresses that intuition is to be valued in all things, as a natural and even passive approach to life. Active or aggressive engagement is discouraged. Those who fail to rely on intuition often find themselves discontent in their careers and unhappy in their relationships.

Throughout the work, Pooh’s simple, intuitive approach to life serves him well. His friends, lacking the requisite simplicity, also benefit from Pooh’s calm nature. Hoff employs Piglet, Owl, Eeyore, Rabbit, and Christopher to show that qualities such as knowledge and industry, while traditionally revered by society, can stand in the way of contentment.

Hoff repeatedly says that those who try too hard will become confused, and the sense of this statement becomes clear as he deftly guides the reader through his carefully-considered examples. Hoff’s choice of Pooh and friends further simplifies the concepts, while adding warmth and humor to The Tao of Pooh.

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