Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, May 10, 1953: Lucy and the Balloon


Here we get a glimpse at the struggle that roils just beneath Lucy's exterior. Notice how she alternates between pleading and threatening? Speaking in terms of the development of her personality, the threatening would eventually win out. Later Lucy would probably pop the balloon just from the dire intensity of her incredible wrath.

The lead panels, not printed by some papers and thus optional, are interesting here. What do put put in those panels so that it's still understandable from their absence, but still in some way contributes to the story? Schulz had yet to hit upon his trick of putting an abstract drawing in the first panel. Here, they're used to underline the point that Lucy has anthropomorphized the balloon.

This is also the first strip I've noticed in which Peanut's catch-all expletive "Rats" is used.


  1. Is it me, or does this strip bear some semblance to the Kubler-Ross "seven stages of grief" (shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, acceptance)? If so, it's especially interesting, considering that the book that laid out those stages, "On Death and Dying," wouldn't be published for another 15 years.

    Perhaps Lucy's psychiatric services were more cutting-edge than we realized...

  2. I considered saying something like that, but Lucy only seems to have three stages, two of which she alternates between.

  3. Ah, I think I see what you mean. She doesn't really have denial however, and anger is interspersed throughout.

  4. Actually she shows most of the stages of grief and in sequence too. She is shocked in the panel where she says "whoops!" She is in denial in the next three panels, fooling herself into believing that the balloon will come when called. She vacillates between anger and bargaining in the next five panels, alternately shaking her fist and dropping to her knees and making pledges. You don't see guilt but she does show depression in the penultimate panel where she repeats, "please, oh please" like a sad little chant she knows to be useless. In the final box she reaches a state of philosophical, if annoyed, acceptance.