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Dr. Seuss Research Paper

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Dr. Seuss Thesis Paper

Born in 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is perhaps 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 America’s 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 elements and 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.

Not only are they mesmerizing and entertaining, Dr. Seuss’ books are as well educational as he uses literary techniques to teach readers moral lessons. As a noted perfectionist, he would work hours on his children's books. He once stated, "The creative process boiled down to two things - time and sweat” (“Theodor Geisel”). A.O Scott writes, “his writing style remained unchanged throughout his lifetime; the way he wrote in general was a fill-in-the-blank approach and used whimsical language coupled with artless drawings”(Scott). In several of his children's books, Geisel adds more and more tension, building up to the climax only to end in an anticlimactic way. For example, in The Cat in the Hat, suspense increases as the mess the Cat makes becomes unmanageable. The illustrations add to this tension as the children's mother is set to arrive. However, just before she enters the door, the mess is cleaned and sparkling new. Although his writing style has remained unchanged in his years of writing, Dr. Seuss was still able to make reading fun and enjoyable to children. Along the lines of his illustrations, Theodor Geisel was among the first authors to put illustrations equal with text, enabling his readers to follow the action and the story simultaneously. True to his eccentric character and unique perspective, Seuss 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, Seuss' illustrations are inimitable. Through his drawings, word selection, and rhythm, Seuss created subliminal messages for his readers.

Yertle the Turtle, written by Ted Geisel in 1958, illustrates one of Seuss’s hidden messages: relationships with other people. About a population of turtles, this unique allegory describes the relationship between a fascist 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 pens, “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; moreover, Dr. Seuss allegorically criticizes monarchism. 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 industrialized society, “The Lorax”, published in 1971, is another one of Seuss’s greatest works which reflects yet another one of his greater messages: 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”. Theodore Geisel composes, “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 buy, 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. “вЂ?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 throatвЂ™Ð²Ð‚Ñœ (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 вЂ?neath the bad-smelling sky was my big empty factory” (Seuss). Although some people still remain blissfully ignorant, the smallest mistake can cause mass pollution and harm to the Earth. As well, most people don’t 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



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