Theodor Seuss Geisel was born in 1904 he is better known as Dr. Seuss, one of the most beloved children’s authors of the twentieth century. Although he is most famous as an author of children’s books, Geisel was also a political cartoonist, advertisement designer, and film director. He used the power of imagination to produce unforgettable children’s books and helped solve the problem of illiteracy among American children.
By using his experiences in life as a foundation for most of his books, Theodor Geisel was able to shape the character of many of his readers, as well as teach children subliminal messages through a unique writing style that incorporated various techniques. Through a few of his books, Geisel incorporates multiple messages including relationships with others, the importance of global and earth awareness, and the dangers of materialism. Along the lines of his illustrations, Theodor Geisel was one of the first authors to put illustrations equal with text which enabled his readers to follow the action and the story simultaneously.
True to his eccentric character and unique perspective, Geisel basically drew things as he saw them. Surprisingly, he had strict guidelines on how to write children’s books. There was only one illustration per page and nothing could describe anything pictured. That way, children can work out the story from the illustrations. In addition, his characters are unique. Although his characters may seem simplistic, Geisel’s illustrations are inimitable. Through his drawings, word selection, and rhythm, Geisel’s created subliminal messages for his readers.
Yertle the Turtle, written by Geisel in 1958, illustrates one of Seuss’s hidden messages: relationships with other people. About a population of turtles, this describes the relationship between a king turtle and his turtle subjects. As king of a small pond, Yertle wishes to have a throne built out of turtles which is high enough for him to see and rule over all the land. Dr. Seuss writes, “with this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond. But I cannot look down on the places beyond (Seuss). Mack, a little turtle at the bottom of the pole, complains, “I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights (Seuss). ” Driven by greed, Yertle ignores the young Mack and calls for 5,607 more turtles. However, before the command is given, Mack lays it down. Dr. Seuss writes, “Decided he’d taken enough. And he had. And that plain little lad got a little bit mad. And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing. He burped! And his burp shook the throne of the king! Seuss). ” By his wacky drawings and rhythms, Dr. Seuss spreads a simple message to his readers about the importance of relationships between one another. As seen in the story, Yertle’s desire for height, power, and royalty prevents him from creating any form of a relation with any of the turtles. Although some turtles attempt to speak with him, they are shut down and ignored. Because of his ignorance towards the little turtles beneath him, all his power comes to an end, proving the negative aspects of running a monarchy.
Concerning our industrialized society, “The Lorax” is another one of Geisel’s greatest works which reflects yet another one of his greater messages which is global awareness. Upon arriving to a marvelous place, the Once-Ler notices beautiful and remarkable “Truffula Trees. ” In fact, he liked the trees so much that he deemed it necessary to create what Seuss called a “thneed”. Seuss writes, “in no time at all, I had built a small shop. Then I chopped down a Truffula Tree with one chop. And with great skillful skill and great speedy speed, I took the soft tuft.
And I knitted a Thneed! (Seuss). ” Someone comes by purchases a “thneed” and allows the Once-ler to live off greed as he chops down the rest of the trees, creating and selling “thneed”, after “thneed”. Seuss writes, “I, the Once-ler, felt sad as I watched them all go. BUT… business is business! And business must grow regardless of crummies in tummies you know (Seuss). ” The sky is soon blackened, the air becomes polluted, and all the wacky animals, including the Lorax, are forced to search for a better place to live. ‘Once-ler! You’re making such smogulous smoke! My poor Swomee-Swans… why, they can’t sing a note! No one can sing who has smog in his throat (Seuss). ” After chopping down the last tree, the Once-ler realizes everything is gone, the air is polluted, and his business has failed; “Now all that was left ‘neath the bad-smelling sky was my big empty factory (Seuss). ” Although some people still remain ignorant, the smallest mistake can cause mass pollution and harm to the Earth.
Most people do not realize what the Earth has to offer, and in fact, use it for their advantage, only to make themselves happy. Through the mind of a child “thneeds” are things we don’t need. Children will face the eyes of materialism as they compete with their friends to have the nicest shoes in the school, although not necessary, and like the Once-ler, possibly destroy their friendship, or analogically the Earth. Along with global awareness and relationships, Geisel also criticizes materialism through a variety of his short stories.
In the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas he justifies that no object can make somebody happy, but rather, it is our own attitudes and perspectives that create joy. One Christmas season the Grinch has had enough and creates an elaborate and wicked plan to steal all the presents and smiles from the Whos. The Grinch complains, “‘Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now! I MUST stop this Christmas from coming! But HOW? ’ Then he got an idea! An awful idea! (Seuss)” The Grinch believes that by doing this, he will ruin the fun-filled holiday spirit that lurks in Whoville.
He follows through with his plan and removes all the presents from beneath the trees. He soon finds out, he is unable to remove the smiles from their faces, realizing he has accomplished nothing. The people of Whoville, despite the fact they have no gifts are still very cheerful and happy just to have the people they love in their lives. Their spirit is what keeps the verve of the city going. After the Who’s noticed everything was stolen, Seuss rhymes, “But the sound wasn’t sad! Why, this sounded merry! It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY! Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, Was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same! (Seuss)” Although the Grinch has all of the gifts and Holiday decor the town still has all their hopes, friends, and true morals. Materialism is a topic that is taught to every age group, no matter how young or how old. This desire for wealth and material goods, with no regard to morality, is frowned upon in society.
The Grinch realizes that it is not what we possess that makes anyone happy, it is that the best is made from any circumstance. Christmas is a time of joy and laughter, and it is the rejoicing of family members and the spending of time with one another on this night that makes everyone smile and laugh. Dr. Seuss revolutionized children’s literature and instilled in children the desire to read. Worrying over his rhythm, word choices, and illustration Geisel made sure to capture and hold the interest of his readers as well as secretly portray a message in most, if not all of his works.