Snufkin

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Snufkin
Moomins character
Nuuskamuikkunen.jpg
Snufkin at Moomin World
First appearanceComet in Moominland
Created byTove Jansson
In-universe information
SpeciesSnufkin (More commonly known as fan-term Mumrik)
GenderMale
RelativesLittle My (half-sister)
Mymble (mother)
Mymble's Daughter (older half-sister)
The Joxter (father)
And numerous other half-brothers and -sisters

Snufkin (original Swedish: Snusmumrik[en] or Mumrik[en], Finnish: Nuuskamuikkunen or Muikkunen) is a character in the Moomin series of books authored by Swedish-speaking Finn Tove Jansson, appearing in six of the nine books; his first appearance is in the second book, Comet in Moominland.[1] He is the best friend of the series' protagonist, Moomintroll, and lives a nomadic lifestyle, only staying in Moominvalley in the spring and summer, but leaving for warmer climates down south every winter.[2][3] He is the son of the elder Mymble and the Joxter, and is half-brother to the Mymble's daughter and Little My.

Description[edit]

Snufkin wears old green clothes and a wide-brimmed hat that he has had since birth. He lives in a tent, smokes a pipe and plays the harmonica. Snufkin also has a great dislike for authority figures such as the Park Keeper, and the many regulation signs and fences he erects. At one point, he sabotages the Park Keeper by planting Hattifatteners in his garden, causing them to grow and drive him out. He has a great hatred for all symbols of private property, even losing his temper with the Hemulen after the latter attempts to put up a sign declaring "Moominvalley."[4]

The age of Snufkin is difficult to determine. He has had more serious and adulty conversations with Moominpappa as well as being notoriously wise or mysterious. Though, he enjoys playing with Moomintroll and other children, and acts just as childish sometimes. He is also referred to as young and/or a child multiple in the series, and is younger than Little My. In problem situations, others often turn to the help of Snufkin, as he enjoys the unreserved admiration of the inhabitants of the valley for his multi-consciousness. His advice is also followed. There are intersections with a wide range of philosophical views on the way Snufkin thinks. He is undoubtedly one of the most multi-faceted characters in Moomins. Snufkin has said that no one should own more than they can handle, and he cannot understand his friend Sniff’s affection for things and worldly things. Snufkin once even throws his tent in the gorge, because he thinks it is not worth clinging to useless property, but instead can even write a poem when he sees something beautiful.[5]

Inspiration[edit]

Tove Jansson based the character of Snufkin on her friend and one-time fiancé, Atos Wirtanen.[6] A typical feature of Snufkin to come and go independently without caring for others, is inspired by the nature of Atos Wirtanen; at the time, Wirtanen was the center of Jansson's life, but Wirtanen was so busy working as an MP that he came and went, with which their relationship failed.[7] Wirtanen's style has also borrowed the recognizable green hat of Snufkin.[8]

Reception[edit]

The character has a mostly positive reception.[9][10][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jones 1984b, pp. 29–30.
  2. ^ Berthoud, Ella; Elderkin, Susan (5 September 2013). The Novel Cure: An A to Z of Literary Remedies. Canongate Books. ISBN 9780857864260. Retrieved 16 December 2016 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b AbdelRahim, Layla (5 December 2014). Children's Literature, Domestication, and Social Foundation: Narratives of Civilization and Wilderness. Routledge. ISBN 9781135104603. Retrieved 16 December 2016 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Jansson 1974, p. 77.
  5. ^ Sirke Happonen (2012). Muumiopas (in Finnish). Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. p. 174. ISBN 978-952-222-363-0.
  6. ^ "Who inspired Tove when creating Snufkin?". Moomin. 2015-08-04. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  7. ^ Karjalainen, Tuula (2013). Tove Jansson - Tee työtä ja rakasta (in Finnish). Helsinki: Tammi. pp. 162–163. ISBN 9789513169633.
  8. ^ Laitinen, Anne (November 7, 2006). "Muumit ensimmäisenä lehtenä julkaissut Ny Tid palkittiin". Turun Sanomat (in Finnish). Turku: TS-Yhtymä.
  9. ^ Jones, W. Glyn (1 January 1984). Tove Jansson. Twayne Publishers. ISBN 9780805765632. Retrieved 16 December 2016 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Lurie, Alison (11 January 2011). Boys And Girls Forever. Random House. ISBN 9781446434475. Retrieved 16 December 2016 – via Google Books.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jansson, Tove (1974). Moominvalley in November. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-374-45309-1.
  • Jones, W. Glyn (1984). Vägen från Muminsalen (in Swedish). Hangö: Bonniers. ISBN 91-0-046191-1.