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Literary Analysis of Dr. Seuss

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Literary Analysis of Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is perhaps one of the most beloved children’s authors of the twentieth century. Although he is most famous as an author of children’s books, Geisel was also a political cartoonist, advertisement designer, and film director (Kaplan). He used the power of imagination to produce unforgettable children’s books and helped solve the problem of illiteracy among America’s children. By using his experiences in life as a foundation for most of his books, Theodor Geisel created a unique writing style that incorporated various elements and techniques, enabling his books to appeal to people of all ages.

     The animated life of Theodor Geisel is evident in his literary masterpieces. He was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts to Theodor and Henrietta Geisel (Ford 14). Geisel grew up speaking German and English, and his fascination with quirky words began at an early age due to his family. For example, his sister, Margaretha, called herself Marnie Ding Ding Guy, and his first creation was the Wynnmph with ears three yards long (Kaplan). During his childhood, Geisel read widely and often - developing his voracious reading habit at an early age. By the time he was six years old, Ted was already reading Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson (Kaplan). However, college education never interested him. Labeled “Least Likely To Succeed” by his fellow classmates at Dartmouth University, Theodor often got in trouble for partying and was forced to resign from the school humor magazine. This gave birth to numerous pseudonyms of Geisel, such as L. Burbank, Thomas Mott Osbourne, Ted Seuss, Seuss, Dr. Seuss, and Theo LeSieg (Hurst). In his adult life, Theodor created various political cartoons for Judge, a humor magazine, and PM, a noted political magazine. The illustrations in these early cartoons foreshadow the quirky illustrations found in his children’s books (Kaplan). Geisel turned to writing children’s books when creating numerous ads for the popular insecticide, Flit, left him with little to do during the winter months (Hurst). By 1990, Dr. Seuss had written over forty books, two of which were Caldecott Honor books, and won two Academy Awards for his documentaries (Krull 39). Unfortunately, battling glaucoma and cataracts became too much for Theodor; he died on September...

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...hors who got away with moralizing. The quirky illustrations and creative wordplay enable his readers to enjoy his books, while at the same time recognize morals (Hurst). Because of his innovative approach to writing books for children, Dr. Seuss has influenced American society immensely. The Oobleck he created in Bartholomew and Oobleck became the green, slimy gunk now seen on popular television networks, such as Nickelodeon (Ford 66). Furthermore, his publishing company, Beginner Books, produced a new series of children’s books called the Berenstein Bears, enabling children to enjoy more reading (Kaplan).

     Dr. Seuss revolutionized children’s literature and instilled in children the desire to read.

According to literary critic Clifton Fadiman, “Theodor Geisel Seuss provided ingenious and uniquely witty solutions to the standing problem of illiteracy among children (qtd. in Kaplan).” Due to various influential figures and profound experiences during his lifetime, as well as expert use of creative literary techniques, Theodor Seuss Geisel’s children’s books continue to compel readers of all ages – allowing them to escape into different worlds filled with nonsense.

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