In Defence of Sally Brown ...

I was chatting with a dear friend and fellow Peanuts fan recently when she asked me a surprising question. Why do you hate Sally Brown? She then used this blog as evidence of my supposed dislike of the character--apparently I don't blog about her enough, and when I do, the posts are mostly negative. I guess it's kind of obvious that my favourite Peanuts character is Peppermint Patty, with Snoopy running a close second. I guess I find both easier to relate to.

Do I hate Sally Brown? Of course not. How could anyone hate a little girl who does something like this:

Sally is a character who is kind and unique enough that she can make a school building fall in love with her. Actually, the whole Sally/School building relationship, where the building offers her all kinds of comfort during hard times is one of the loveliest story arcs in the comic. Sally is a very likeable character--she is the first to befriend Eudora, a shy girl at her school camp and is one of the few characters who seems to actually like Lucy Van Pelt instead of being intimidated by her. Also, Sally may yell a lot but you have to forgive her for that. She is, after all, the youngest member of the Peanuts gang and struggles to keep up with the others at times. Plus she suffers constant rejection from Linus, her Sweet Baboo. 

Sally is not without her failings. One of her greatest failings is the pride she takes in her own ignorance. This often lands her into trouble at school as this strip shows:

Rather than making Sally an annoying character, these flaws serve to make her more endearing to the reader. If Sally were a sweet girl all the time, readers would have difficulty relating to her. But because Schulz drew her as a real character, with flaws that could be laughed at, the reader can love her. Sally's lack of understanding about the world around her becomes even more fun when she invents her many philosophies. While a real philosopher would take years to come up with something deep any meaningful, Sally is able to come up with something amusing (and self-serving,) within minutes. Some of Sally's greatest philosophies include:

  • Who cares?
  • So waddya think?
  • What do I care?
  • Why me?
  • Oh yeah? That's what you think!
  • Why are you telling me?
  • I can't stand it
  • Where will it all end?
  • What did you expect, a medal?
  • No!
  • Who left the door open?
  • Wolves are making a comeback.
  • Details at eleven
(Source: Peanuts Wikia)

Later, Sally's philosophies would be included in a musical number in theatre productions of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. 

So there you have it. Sally Brown is a wonderful inclusion to the Peanuts gang and an integral part of the strip. I do not hate this character. How could I?


Andrew Leon said…
My wife, when she was younger, performed in that musical.

I live in the place where Schulz lived. We skate at the Snoopy Ice Skating arena, and the Schulz Museum is right next to it.
Kathryn White said…
Wow, that is a brilliant little nugget of information Andrew. I have to admit, I'm quite impressed. The Schulz Museum is on my list of places to visit if I'm ever in the USA. (So if you encounter a tourist named Kathryn with a thick Australian accent, that would probably be me ...)
Andrew Leon said…
Well, if you're ever going to be here, you need to let me know.

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