.. euss learned that children weren’t reading well from a magazine article .. did this article alert him to a growing educational issue, or show him a mental image of what his “big break” should be? I’m afraid this question cannot be answered. Authors who write for the sake of writing usually always do it as a method of expressing their own creativity. In some of his works Dr. Seuss was flamingly creative (“There’s a Wocket in my Pocket”, “The Sleep Book”, etc ..
nearly all the ones that deal with biodiversity) via his artwork and interesting use of language .. as creative as creative can be. In other books, however, Seuss’ work was .. dull. “Bartholomew and the Oobleck”, for instance, does not have any redeeming artwork, the words are in prose rather than poetry, and the storyline is quite manufactured.
“Hop on Pop” is obviously not a creative undertaking .. phrases like “Hop. Pop. Hop on Pop.” aren’t the cleverest things you can come up with. The creativity that Seuss was usually full of was, in the end, childish creativity ..
few individuals have remained creatively intrigued by childish subjects all their lives (Jad Fair is an example of one of those rarities), but, although his professional “image” makes it seem otherwise, Seuss was not one of them. He had a wide range of adult ideas he wanted to get out too. For example, look at these two paintings of his – the first is untitled, and the second is “Cat Detective in the Wrong Part of Town”: Scenes of what I presume to be bondage (see the shackles on the cow’s arm and the small masked woman?) and downright trippiness aren’t exactly children’s fare. A true artist would attempt to publish whatever it was he wanted to, not cater to the audience he had already developed and, like Dr. Seuss, keep all of his creative activities that differ from the norm in wraps (these pictures were not publicized as much as any of his books ..
most people do not even know they exist). Finally, another sign of an artist selling out (in the music industry, anyway) is their advertising products that they do not genuinely, 100% believe in and want to share with the world .. it’s a dead giveaway that you want money if you lend your original ideas to something you don’t support. Personally, I don’t believe Dr. Seuss is as adamant a supporter of Cellophane and Narragansett ale as he is of environment-friendliness and civil rights. I may be wrong on that, who knows, but observe: With that, I conclude the first section of the essay, and begin the second. Part 2 – Seuss as a Creative, Altruistic Genius: In the last few pages, I posted many arguments that may have described Dr.
Seuss as someone in search of money – given the society we live in, you really can’t be blamed for greed, but that is a different story. In those arguments there were many times when I countered myself, and all of those counterings work toward this case .. please keep that in mind. To summarize what I said: Given all the subject matter that Seuss has written about for so much of his life, it is impossible to think that the man wouldn’t have any feelings on them at all .. even if he just mildly believed in the morals he taught, he still educated many generations with them and did make a big impact on the world.
If you look at some of the things Dr. Seuss has done voluntarily, you see a moral and honorable man .. during WW2 he was involved in the making of government films, much like his contemporary Walt Disney. Although his films were injected with a heavy dose of American propaganda (remember the country that he was from, and the conditions he grew up in .. anyone who has his upbringing will be pro-American), many of them demonstrated morals as well .. as a matter of interest, in 1947 he won an Academy award for his film “Design for death”.
Although I cannot put one of Seuss’ films in this essay, I can show you some of his political cartoons. Yes, they are very slanted, but when it comes to WW2 we all know who the good guys and who the bad guys were .. [Notice how in the turtle cartoon, he uses well-known he had already created to help get his message across] Although people who are serious about books often do not consider Dr. Seuss, his impact is bigger than many authors we consider “important”. Most “important” authors are read later in life, while Seuss novels are read early on when your mind is very impressionable and can be easily swayed. The impact Seuss’ teachings have on you are likely to stay for a long, long time, whereas the impact of the teachings of an adult author like ..
umm .. Hemingway are only extreme if you’re extremely into his books (actually, I haven’t read anything by Hemingway so he isn’t the best example .. I’m just using him as a generic author most educated adults agree on the talent of). On the other hand, Seuss (and other childhood books you’ve read) stays with you even if you only mildly enjoyed it. That’s how the young mind works.
What I mean to say is this: Seuss has made a huge positive impact, whether he truly wanted to or not .. even if he did do it for money, the end result was undeniably good and perhaps that money was well-deserved. A phrase from the last paragraph that I’d like to add on to is “do it for the money”. When Dr. Seuss was born his financial situation wasn’t one of the shabbiest in the world and when he died he was quite a wealthy man. Money, obviously, was something he wanted, but according to some of his writings once he got it he didn’t really appreciate the rich, socialite lifestyle that went with it.
A few of his poems have dealt with his disapproval of socialites and their constant, pretentious parties that he forced himself to go to – for example: Said an artist with minutes to live I have very few minutes to give To the Smarties and Farties At long local parties, And ended his life with a shiv. Seuss eventually got so fed up with the whole San Diego socialite scene that he just dropped out of it, preferring virtual isolation over spending his time in the breeding grounds of pretentiousness. Isolation brings forth suffering, and suffering for your art is a truly artistic thing to do indeed. The Bottom Line: I have now presented both sides of the case. So far in this essay I’ve acted as the prosecution and defense, and now it is my turn to be the judge: Both sides do have some strong points. The “Seuss wants money” theory is strengthened so much by the ads displayed that only a very strong counter-argument could break it, but the political cartoons and anti-socialite messages used in the “Seuss was an artist” theory manage to do it.
It cannot be shown that Seuss was money-hungry all of his life, perhaps simply in its early stages when he just started off – he was heavily involved in advertising then, and his stories such as “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” were not particularly ethic-conscious. When Seuss died in 1991, however, you get a definite image of a creative, artistic genius of a man .. his advertising career had come to a close, his books constantly taught to respect yourself, others and your surroundings, and he exercised his artistic freedom while writing his final two stories, both adult-oriented. Dr. Seuss died an honorable man, and any selling out that he may have been guilty of is definitely, definitely excusable.
”How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” -Dr. Seuss (1904-1991) English Essays.