How depressing is the sight of tears in a comic strip? Especially when they streak the face of a little girl lamenting her supposed unlovability.
There is some genuine, labyrinthine mind-screwness happening here with this entire story. Charles Schulz’ unrequited pining for Donna Wold was manifest in Peanuts with Charlie Brown’s hopeless yearning for the Little Red Haired Girl. Schulz, in panel after panel, poured out his unresolved anguish over being shunned by the woman he desired so strongly. Two marriages, five children, worldwide fame, and more money than a human realistically needs, and he still could not put his lost love behind him.
So it’s interesting that here he has another character react to the Little Red Haired Girl so strongly. There was never a strip where Charlie Brown reacted jealously to a boy that he knew the LRHG was interested in, so I would venture that this is Schulz putting his own distraught, distorted self-reflections into the Peppermint Patty character. Which clicks on a couple levels: it saves Charlie Brown from even more suffering (seriously, the Book of Job is like Poky Li’l Puppy compared to Peanuts) and puts him in the entirely novel position of “object of desire.”