In Peanuts, are the humans aware of what Snoopy is thinking? I know that Charles Schulz was very careful to always place Snoopy's thoughts in a thought bubble as opposed to a speech bubble, but did the other characters react as if it was spoken?

I'm referring to human characters only here, not Woodstock or the cactus that Spike speaks to.


5 Answers 5


It depends on how you define a character, but yes.

Snoopy conversed with Woodstock with thought bubbles, as evidenced by this passage from the book "My Life with Charlie Brown", by C. Schulz.

I would much prefer that Snoopy not converse with Woodstock, but there are some ideas too important to abandon, so I have him speaking to Woodstock through "thought" balloons.

So Snoopy is not actually speaking, but using thought balloons that Woodstock understands, so there is at least one recurring character in Snoopy that understands what he is thinking.

  • 3
    Arguably, while we're seeing Snoopy's thoughts, they are not necessarily being communicated psychically; Woodstock and his fellow birds' responses are always in "bird language", so Snoopy may be communicating in "dog language", and the thought balloon is the translation.
    – RDFozz
    Feb 6, 2018 at 19:10
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    I'm looking for human characters only... Woodstock is obvious.
    – TheAsh
    Feb 6, 2018 at 20:28
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    Also, I seem to recall the cactus that spike speaks to responfing in a very late strip.)
    – TheAsh
    Feb 6, 2018 at 20:29
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    @TheAsh So, not that I care much, but per policy, you shouldn't edit your question to add a stipulation which invalidates an answer. It is up to you whether you ask a new question which is more restrictive; you could also discuss with this user whether they would be willing to delete their answer. Feb 7, 2018 at 6:39
  • You and @mcalex could always convert that answer to CW, then add this to it if you liked. The quote here seems to admit that Snoopy's “‘thought’ balloons” are ironic and can only be perceived by the reader, and that Woodstock's ability to respond to them is merely the implementation as a partner for Snoopy's comedy or commentary — so, Woodstock is comparable to the Great Gazoo, except that other characters can see him. Feb 10, 2018 at 20:06

I was going to comment in reply to NKCampbell, pointing out that as well as walking on two legs, putting clothes on himself, ice skating, and typing letters to his brother, Snoopy is also a famous World War I fighter ace, when I noticed the reference comic in that link demonstrates that Linus at least understands what's going on in Snoopy's head, even if he doesn't have a direct translation of individual thoughts. (He shoots down Snoopy from his Sopwith Camel/kennel.)

Additionally, that page suggests Marcie understands Snoopy's thoughts inasmuch as she is happy to play the French lass who falls for the hero in his fighter ace fantasy

Edit: Further instances of the characters being aware of what Snoopy is thinking:
Charlie knows Snoopy has just bailed out of his 'plane'

Charlie knows Snoopy is flying a sopwith camel in world war 1 against the red baron

Edit 2: The example below is wrong. It is Woodstock talking. I couldn't see him in the image (still can't), but it's his speech. Thanks to @DaveTweed for the correction. I still think there is enough evidence to show there is definitely some understanding of Snoopy's thoughts by the Peanuts children.

And finally:

Evidence of direct understanding of Snoopy's 'speech' (not thought) bubble: https://theentertainmentnut.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/lt102.jpg?w=479

So yes, Snoopy iscan be understood by the human characters in the strip.

Edit 3: To respond to essentially similar comments from RDFozz and cann-ned_food:

For the first part of the argument, I suggest that for a strip that started in 1950, realising that Snoopy is a World war 1 fighter ace is NOT an obvious reaction to seeing him dressed in aviator hat/goggles piloting his kennel. A 1950s pilot would be more likely than a WWI pilotfighter ace, (heck even a WWII pilot would be more likely).

For the second, the logical end result - once you start down the path of assigning parts of the strip to someone's imagination - is that the whole thing must be imagination based, whether that imagination is Snoopy's, Charlie Brown's (whether or not that includes the rest of the Peanuts kids) or that of Mr Schulz himself. I felt this would invalidate the question, so I chose to not only not go down that path, but to ignore it completely.

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    A little confused here. The question says: In Peanuts, do the other characters know what Snoopy's thinking? My answer says: Yes, I suggest there is evidence for the characters understanding him and show evidence. How is that not an answer?
    – mcalex
    Feb 7, 2018 at 3:00
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    @mcalex those two saw the word "comment" near the top of your answer and stopped reading, I think. +1 from me at least.
    – Segfault
    Feb 7, 2018 at 6:23
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    Good finds. Of course, maybe Snoopy's actions are simply so obvious that those other characters thus know how to participate in his fantasies. That possibly brings up another question: How much of Snoopy's fantasies are actually in his head? Does he actually dress up in costume, or think that he does? Maybe all the children are simply the product of Snoopy's imagination. Maybe I should repeat to myself: it's just a comic; I should really just relax and read Peanuts. Feb 7, 2018 at 6:45
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    I've upvoted this, as it contains better examples. I will, however, leave mine as it was good before the question was edited, and does contain "Word of God" material.
    – JohnP
    Feb 7, 2018 at 14:21
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    Linus is presumably reacting to Snoopy's actions - knowing what he's thinking isn't necessary when Linus can see he has his aviator hat/goggles on, and appears to be acting like he's flying a plane. I'd need to see examples of Marcie to be convinced - there are times when Snoopy's environment has seemed to change to match the WWI flying ace persona; if Snoopy's that deep into his imagination, Marcie's responses could be his imagination as well.
    – RDFozz
    Feb 8, 2018 at 21:23

I cannot recall any instance where a human character responded as though Snoopy's thought balloons were directly communicated to them. Generally, his communication with humans was limited to his actions (not eating when fed; dancing about; kissing Lucy; Linus commenting on the "vulture" in a nearby tree; etc.)

As JohnP pointed out, Snoopy's thought balloons do seem to be communicated to Woodstock and his bird friends as though they were spoken, and to Snoopy's siblings when he meets up with them. His siblings responses are communicated the same way; however, the birds' responses are always in "bird language" (||\|||/|||!).

It seems reasonable to assume that Snoopy (and his siblings) are communicating in "dog language", and the thought balloons are simply translations to simplify things for us. We'd also need to suppose that birds understand "dog language"; however, since Snoopy seems to understand "bird language", that doesn't seem like much of a stretch.

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    If there's an exception; look for the interactions between Snoopy and Peppermint Patty, who thinks he's a "big-nosed kid". Still, I don't recall any reactions/responses form her that would lead us to believe she understood his thought balloons directly.
    – RDFozz
    Feb 6, 2018 at 19:19
  • I recall 2 comics where Lucy and Charlie Brown read snoopy's thought's. I cant recall for the life of me where. I'll try to track it down by tomorrow.
    – TheAsh
    Feb 6, 2018 at 20:07
  • +1 I read a lot of Snoopy cartoons (books of newspaper comic reprints are not new...) when I was young, and don't remember any where the children understood the animals.
    – RonJohn
    Feb 6, 2018 at 23:11

The closest we see to direct interaction is Woodstock and Snoopy. Snoopy thinks in normal thought, while Woodstock speaks bird, yet they clearly understand each other

While we don't see the other characters interact with the bubbles directly, there's always Snoopy's typewriter, which we do see some characters interact with directly from time to time

enter image description here


No, they don't.

This is explicitly stated in the January 27th, 1997 comic strip. no knowledge of thinking

However, Charles Schulz was not renowned for his consistency, so it's possible that there exists another strip that contradicts this one.

  • Just found this while reading the complete peanuts on peanuts wikia.
    – TheAsh
    May 24, 2018 at 22:32
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    I'm not convinced that Charlie Brown was being honest there, that sounds a bit insulting and passing it along to the teacher could have got him into trouble, particularly if she didn't believe it was the dogs words...
    – jmoreno
    Jul 8, 2018 at 19:43

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