Themes and Characters

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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 179

Larson has always been willing to personify animals in his cartoons and does so with particular glee when drawing bears. In this story, and throughout his works in general, bears are recurring characters who try to understand important things about humans. Often, as in this story, the bears are asking...

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Larson has always been willing to personify animals in his cartoons and does so with particular glee when drawing bears. In this story, and throughout his works in general, bears are recurring characters who try to understand important things about humans. Often, as in this story, the bears are asking two questions: how dangerous are humans, and are they any good to eat?

Larson is always willing to work with the faintly repulsive and, on occasion, the downright repugnant elements of life. Usually he does this by lampooning human behaviors, as in his drawing of a worm dancing with a slimy slug at their high school prom.

Throughout his career, Larson has shown more interest than any other artist or writer has ever shown in depicting insect and invertebrate life in his cartoons. The biggest fans of Larson's cartoons are entomologists, who have honored him for his success at putting bugs 'n' slugs in the public eye by naming a species of butterfly after him (Serratoterga larsoni) as well as a chewing louse found only on owls (Strigiphilus garylarsoni).

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