Overthinking Dr. Seuss

I read a lot of Dr. Seuss (9 kids will do that to you), to the point where I've caught myself thinking about the story behind the story, wondering if the good doctor ever considered these angles.

What do you mean I'm over-analyzing?

The Zax -- Evolution or Cruel Experiment?
"Never budge! That's my rule. Never budge in the least! Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east!
I'll stay here, not budging! I can and I will if it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!" 

A North-going Zax and a South-going Zax bump into each other during their long, seemingly pointless journeys, each stubbornly refusing to step aside for the other.

Are there more of these creatures? And are these the first to ever run into each other on their (presumably, magnetically perfect) paths? This appears to be a potential evolutionary problem.

Or is it intentional. One mentions a South-going school. Is there some genetic scientist who has trained them and set them on colliding paths, just to see what they would do?

The Sneetches -- The Economy of Beach Bums
Then, when every last cent
Of their money was spent,
The Fix-it-Up Chappie packed up
And he went.

And he laughed as he drove
In his car up the beach,
"They never will learn.
No. You can't teach a Sneetch."

Plain-belly Sneetches live oppressed by their star-bearing brethren. Until a con man convinces them to change their stars back and forth, taking all their money and leaving the Sneetches poor and confused.

But where did they get this money? In the entire book, the Sneetches have neither homes nor jobs nor clothes (it's cool, they're birds). Maybe their economy is just never shown, or maybe they are the world's most successful beach bums, spending vast welfare checks only on marshmallows and frankfurters.

The Sleep Book -- A Message from Big Brother
We have a machine in a plexiglass dome
Which listens and looks into everyone's home.
And whenever it sees a new sleeper go flop,
It jiggles and lets a new Biggel-Ball drop. 

From one perspective, the Sleep Book is about the bedtime and sleep behaviors of various creatures as the countryside goes to bed.

From another, it's subtle propoganda composed by a totalitarian regime. The message? "Everything is fine. All are sleeping peacefully, except you. We know."


Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Dr. Seuss is genius. I think he knew exactly what he was writing, but it was irreverent commentary for the adults, not propaganda for wee minds. At least that's what I like to think, this Who down in Whoville.

aspiring_x said...

Seuss rocks my socks!
and i totally agree with susan!
people joke about him and his silly fabricated words and creatures...
i think he saw truth and the nature of humanity far clearer than most of us ever will...
this post is awesome!
we need an intro to seuss course taught by dr. heine! :)

L. T. Host said...

I love this! Please do more :)

Adam Heine said...

@Susan: I love Dr. Seuss too. They are among the few books I don't hide from the kids. I mean no! I don't hide books. Who does that?

@aspiring: Not so fast. Dr. Heine is my father.

@LT Host: I'll see what I can do. I certainly have the fodder for it.

Myrna Foster said...

Yes, more please?

I've had similar thoughts on the Zax and the Sneetches. What are your thoughts on the "green pants with nobody inside them?"

Adam Heine said...

@Myrna: Not sure about that one. I'd say paranormal activity, but the pants were as scared as the narrator was, implying the pants were unfamiliar with humans (or whatever the narrator was) in general. Is there a city of empty pants somewhere? Or do the pants come out only after all the people go to sleep, and thus the two races never meet, until the narrator stays out late, late at night?

Hm, maybe I need to get out more.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Oh, the places you'll go! :)