Dr. Seuss's the Sneetches

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The Sneetches Book Analysis
By: Matthew Strong

The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss is the title story in a playfully written series of short stories that subtly illustrate very crucial moral and social issues that are still very relevant in today’s society, despite the book being published in 1961. Now, obviously this story can be read for sheer pleasure, however upon rereading it as an adult I, walked away with a much more profound enlightenment at the overall message conveyed by The Sneetches. There are multiple dilemmas/ social issues that significantly stand out, and these will be the ones addressed and analyzed in more depth. Issues such as racism and the keeping up with the Joneses mentality that is so prevalent in today’s consumerist society. Of course these are not the only issues brought up within The Sneetches, but simply the ones that I feel are conveyed the strongest by Dr. Seuss through his illustrations and his obscure, yet delightful use of literature that has made him such a world renowned author of children’s books.

Keeping up with the Joneses is a popular term that summarizes the widespread and cyclical effect of defining oneself by what they possess, in an effort to reach a higher social status. Dr. Seuss precipitates this effect by introducing the very clearly spoken and keen character of Sylvester McMonkey McBean (Giesel, 9). After effectively raising the social status of the Plain-Bellied Sneetches by adding a star to their bellies he immediately initiate’s the consumerist cycle by stating, “belly stars are no longer in style” (Giesel, 17). Dr. Seuss illustrates the ensuing dilemma that perfectly depicts the desire to achieve social and cultural superiority by the Sneetches, while also detailing Sylvester McMonkey McBean amassing a large fortune in the background (Giesel, 20). The character of Sylvester McMonkey McBean represents an uncanny similarity to that of the big business industries that use consumerism as a means to control the buying...
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