Friday, January 28, 2011

Beargombo Snufferbux

Since Jared recently reviewed both Ojo and Speedy, I might as well cross-post some of my old entries on characters in these books. This particular post, concerning Snufferbux, is an excerpt from here.

When Ojo is kidnapped by a band of gypsies, he meets a fellow prisoner, a bear who was lured into the gypsies' clutches with honey. (Winnie-the-Pooh had been published just seven years prior to Ojo, so I guess it's possible this was an intentional reference to Pooh's honey obsession, but I'm not sure how likely this is. I mean, bears really DO like honey, after all.) The roving band forced the bear, whom they called Rufus, to dance, beg, and play the accordion at fairs. When he befriends Ojo, he says that his real name is Snufforious Buxorious Blundorious Boroso, which Ojo decides to shorten to Snufferbux. Considering that his first three names look like they could be adjectives, I would think that simply "Boroso" would have also worked as a nickname, but what do I know about bear names? Besides, "Snufferbux" is a fun name to say, and seems somehow appropriate. Thompson presumably intended the similarity to "snuffbox," although there's no actual connection or pun there as far as I can tell. Broadly speaking, Snufferbux fits into the common Thompsonian mold of sarcastic and curmudgeonly but fiercely loyal animals, of which Kabumpo is the most frequently used example. Anyway, when he and Ojo end up traveling with a bandit chief called Realbad, the bear is quite eager to protect the boy from the outlaw, who has expressed a wish to turn Ojo over to the nasty magician Mooj for a large reward.

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