Culture Pop Bestiary

Mr. Busy

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One in a series of posts dedicated to pop-culture depictions of beavers — as symbolic representations of Americans — from 1904–2003. The series derives its title from Thomas Carlyle’s warning about merely instinctive labor.

Although he looks and sounds almost identical to Gopher from the Winnie the Pooh franchise, Mr. Busy, a beaver from the 1955 animated movie Lady and the Tramp, is a classic beaver character. He’s a compulsively hard-working fellow who can’t stop dam-building long enough to have a conversation with the movie’s fugitive main characters.

Tramp cons Mr. Busy into chewing off Lady’s muzzle by persuading him that it’s a useful dam-building tool: a log-puller.

Mr. Beaver is an admirable enough character, but from the viewpoint of Tramp — and the movie’s audience — he’s overly “beaverish” (to use Thomas Carlyle’s pejorative), i.e., he’s too focused on the task on hand, he lacks perspective.

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