"Too Many Daves" Analysis

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The 1950s in America were well known for the growing popularity of the television, Elvis Presley, hula hoops, and white picket fences. Despite being called the “Golden Age of America”, this era had quite a lot of under-the-surface issues, including racism, segregation, and paranoia as a result of communism. These issues were unknown or ignored by many mainly because of the social conformity and conservatism in that time period, especially among the upper middle class members of society. In his very short story “Too Many Daves, published in 1961 in his whimsical and colorful book The Sneetches and Other Stories, the world-renowned children’s author Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, tackled the uniform mores of the decade. In this particular story consisting of a mother who has twenty-three kids all named Dave, Seuss uses metaphor, satire, and allegory to criticize social conformity, specifically in suburbia of the 1950s. Seuss creatively reproached American conventionality through his usage of metaphor to represent humans in “Too Many Daves.” In the story, Seuss uses the twenty-three Daves as a metaphor for the largest social class at the time: the upper middle class living in the homogeneous suburbs. In Seuss’ story, having so many indistinguishable Daves “makes things quite difficult at the McCaves’ / As you can imagine, with so many Daves.” This represents the difficulty of telling apart the people of that class. By using this metaphor of Dave representing the upper middle class of people in the ‘50s, Seuss is able to address and reprimand the aforementioned group of people’s uniformity and loss of individuality. “Too Many Daves” contains much satire as it is comparison to not only poke fun at but also ridicule the conformity to a customary standard in America in the ‘50s. For example, Seuss introduces a situation where a woman “had twenty-three sons and she named them all Dave.” This kind of scenario is absurd and improbable in reality, but through...
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