Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dr. Suess - from an enjoyable writer to a man with a message

When my oldest daughter was born, we started to accumulate books - lots and lots of books. We made reading a regular part of her bedtime routine, and today, it is routine for both girls to be read to before they nod off for the night. I remember feeling very excited when we got our first batch of Dr. Seuss stories. His books were always imaginative and fun to read.

What I thought was particularly interesting in re-reading these stories as an adult was - the stories weren't exactly as I remembered them. Prior to my daughters being born, I can't recall the last time I had read a Dr. Suess story, but I must have been fairly young. Reading them now brought an entirely new perspective. Dr. Suess was a genius! Sure, the crazy creatures, tongue-twisting sentences, and pictures without straight lines were all still there.  But there was one more amazing component to the stories - the messages hidden within them.

How did I not realize this before? I missed out on the subtexts as a child! Green Eggs and Ham was MORE than Sam-I-Am trying annoy the other character (anyone know his name?) to eat the green eggs and ham in random ways. At the end, it turns out the other character LOVES green eggs and ham!  If he had only tried them sooner, he would have known! Moral? Don't knock it until you've tried it.



And Sneetches - those duck-looking creatures that either have stars on their bellies or don't. The ones with the stars treats the ones without stars like they are inferior. They continue acting this way until a scam artist comes along and inadvertently makes them realize that they are all the same, stars or not. Moral? We are all equal. Don't discriminate.



The Lorax is a little more obvious - the Onceler shows up to a beautiful paradise and begins decimating it to turn a profit on some ridiculous clothing. Not only is the environment ruined, but animals go hungry or get sick and have to find new homes to survive. Moral? We need to be more responsible for the environment.



What I'm attempting to point out is that time changes us. We can look back on old things with new eyes and see a refreshed perspective. Whatever thoughts or feelings you may have had in the past does not necessarily mean you will feel the same way now. Open your mind, try to see things from another angle or even from someone else's perspective - in doing so, your life experiences can be more comprehensive and robust.

Takeaways:

  • Dr. Seuss is a literary genius (duh).
  • Because humans grow and change throughout life, experiencing something a second time may not yield the same perception as the first encounter. Try to approach things with an open mind, and your eyes may see it differently the second time around.