This author discusses the paradox of Peanuts, child characters who aren't like most real kids and who are also subjected to cruelty, and yet children enjoyed the comic. An excerpt:
What I took away from Schulz is that life is hard. People are difficult at best, unfathomable at worst. Justice is a foreign tongue. Happiness can vaporize in the thin gap between a third and fourth panel, and the best response to all that is to laugh and keep moving, always ready to duck.