"Linus, my serious side, is the house intellectual, bright, well-informed which, I suppose may contribute to his feelings of insecurity"
Charles M. Schulz on Linus van Pelt
Linus van Pelt is a major character in Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts. He is Lucy and Rerun's brother. Linus always means well and tries to smooth over any storms that arise amongst the gang. A source of frustration for him is Lucy, who always belittles him, particularly over his security blanket. In spite of his insightful nature, he has a naive belief in the Great Pumpkin. He is Charlie Brown's best friend.
Linus is usually depicted wearing short black pants and a shirt with black stripes. In the Peanuts animated TV specials, Linus' shirt is colored red.
Lucy's baby brother was first mentioned on July 14, 1952. Linus first appeared on September 19, 1952, as a baby too young to sit up by himself and was not given a name until three days later. However, he soon aged to just slightly younger than the rest of the cast.
On February 5, 1962, he began to wear glasses. However, by July 17 of that year, his ophthalmologist had told him that he did not have to wear them all the time, and they were phased out completely after September 9, 1962.
Despite being younger than the rest of the characters, Linus seems to be the smartest. He acts as a philosopher and theologian, often quoting the Bible.
In contrast to his advanced intellect, Linus carries with him a security blanket. Lucy makes numerous attempts to break Linus of his blanket habit, and Snoopy tries to steal the blanket for himself. Linus is able to use the blanket as a whip. In later strips, Linus was seen less and less with his blanket. Charles Schulz said in 1989 that Linus had outgrown his blanket and it only appeared in strips that were dependent on it.
Linus became a valued member of Charlie Brown's baseball team. He is usually seen playing second base.
See main article: Lucy and Linus' relationship
Linus has a rocky relationship with his older sister, Lucy. She often treats him as her personal servant and hits him at times for no reason. Linus usually gets back at Lucy in subtle ways, such as pointing out that she has forgotten how to smile.
See main article: Sally and Linus' relationship
When Sally Brown was introduced in the strip, Linus initially had a crush on her, but he quickly outgrew it. Sally Brown then developed a crush on him, often calling him her "Sweet Babboo." Linus, for his part, resists her advances.
Linus' best friend is Charlie Brown, even though Charlie Brown is slightly older than he is. Aside from Lucy, Charlie Brown is the character with whom Linus is most often seen. They support each other, talk about their problems with each other, and even argue with each other (usually about the "Great Pumpkin"). But after these arguments, their friendship continues in the next strip as if nothing happened. The extent of Linus' feelings for Charlie Brown is demonstrated in the storyline in which he and Lucy are leaving the neighborhood, later adapted into the TV special Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?. When he leaves, Linus gives Charlie Brown his security blanket, even though he depends on it to survive and loves it immensely. This comes as a big surprise to Charlie Brown.
RerunDespite having named his own younger brother, Linus' relationship with Rerun is rarely shown. Both of the van Pelt brothers are most often shown interacting with their sister, Lucy. At various points in the strip, Linus is shown comforting a crying infant Rerun, teaching basketball to him as a toddler, and in later years discussing the crabbiness of their sister. Linus also attempts to convince his brother of the existence of the Great Pumpkin. However, a skeptical Rerun expresses embarrassment at his brother's beliefs, and of his reliance on a security blanket. Rerun is even shown mocking Linus over these issues.
In the late 1950s, he developed a somewhat intense (but short-lived) crush on his teacher, Miss Othmar.
In the 1980s, Linus developed a crush on a girl named Lydia, who sits behind him in school. Whenever Linus talks to her, she asks him, "Aren't you kind of old for me?". Linus liked her at first, but he soon began to find her annoying and eventually treated her the same that he treated Sally.
Linus has a good relationship with Snoopy, at least while Snoopy is fantasizing about being Joe Cool or the World Famous Attorney. In the strip from May 12, 1972, after Lucy has kicked Linus out of the house during the time that their mother is in the hospital. Joe Cool allows Linus stay at his "dorm" (that is to say Snoopy's doghouse). Linus also offers Snoopy advice about legal issues whenever the beagle is playing the World Famous Attorney. However, they do have their quarrels, mainly over Snoopy's desire to take Linus' security blanket for himself. A recurring gag in the strip involves Snoopy grabbing the blanket in his mouth and dragging Linus around to make him let go. Occasionally, Snoopy goes as far as to swing around the blanket, with Linus still attached to it, before letting it go, sending the boy flying through the air. As a result of this treatment, Linus often refuses to let Snoopy near him when he knows the dog is after his blanket. Many strips show Linus threatening to inflict physical harm on Snoopy, easily scaring the beagle into submission. Despite all this, Linus and Snoopy remain on friendly terms most of the time.
- An Italian magazine, publishing Peanuts and other comics during the 1960s, was named Linus.
- The term security blanket originated in Peanuts.
- Linus is one of the many Peanuts characters to appear in the game Snoopy's Street Fair, in which he owns a pumpkin pie booth.