Progressive Politics of Dr Seuss

Topics: Pages: 7 (1528 words) / Published: Jun 30th, 2013
Dr. Seuss is a staple of many people’s childhood. He is the most popular children’s book writer, even 2 decades after his death. His rhymes and quirky characters make his stories lovable and impossible to forget. But there are more to his silly stories than just crazy characters with a lesson to learn. Throughout his books, Dr. Seuss uses rhymes and clever characters to tell stories about issues current to the time. Some of his most well known stories such as Yertle the Turtle, The Lorax and The Sneetches, are all full of the progressive politics that Dr. Seuss truly Believed in. In his article, Dr. Suess’s Progressive Politics, Peter Dreier gives us a background to Suess’s life. Theodor Geisel is the man behind the Dr. Seuss pen name. He was born in 1904 and grew up in a German-American community in Springfield, Massachusetts. Geisel went to Dartmouth College and wrote and was editor-in-chief of a humor magazine on campus. He also did ads for companies such as General Electric and Flit. In 1931 Geisel illustrated his first picture book, and in 1939, after getting rejected 29 times, published his first children’s book. After his couple books flopped he took a break from children’s books to help the war efforts, making propaganda and training films. He also drew political cartoons for PM, a left-wing daily newspaper in New York City. It was at PM that Geisel really found his political ideology. Geisel started to put this into his new picture books. Peter Dreier explains, “[m]any Dr. Seuss books are about the misuse of power – by despots, kings, and other rulers, including the sometimes arbitrary authority of parents”(np). He mentions Geisel’s lecture he gave in 1947 where he speaks to would be writers and tells them to avoid stereotypes because America “preaches equality but doesn’t always practice it.” Dreier goes on to explain that Gielsel’s books show sympathy for the weak and wants to teach children “to think about how to deal with an unfair


Cited: Drerier, Peter. "Dr. Seuss’s Progressive Politics." Tikkum. Vol. 26, Issue 4. Berkley, CA. 2011. Seuss, Dr. The Lorax. New York: Random House, 1971. Print. Seuss, Dr. The Sneetches and Other Stories. New York: Random House, 1989. Print. Seuss, Dr. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. New York: Random House, 1958. Print.

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