Freudian Psyche in Geisel's The Cat in the Hat Essay

Freudian Psyche in Geisel's The Cat in the Hat Essay

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Freudian Psyche in Geisel's The Cat in the Hat


"Then we saw him step in on the mat!

We looked!

And we saw him!

The Cat in the hat!" (Seuss 6)


Through the years, many parents have read the children's book The Cat in the Hat to their kids. Written by Theodore Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat is a lively and wonderful book to read to children. No only that, but also it helps teach children about right and wrong through fun and exciting characters. But many kids and parents alike are missing a piece of the puzzle. Not only is The Cat in the Hat a fun-to-read children's book, but it is also a play on the Freudian psyche.


Freud's perception of the human mind splits it into three separate sections: the id, the ego and the superego. The id is purely primal instincts; it is based on the mind's pleasure principle and is present in babies when they are first born. All the id wants is to have its needs fulfilled-no matter what the consequences. The ego is a balance; it works on the reality principle, and, while it works with the id to gain pleasure, it is constantly wary of the consequences. The superego is the id's opposite. Its main objective is to maintain morals, and it is the effective counter to the id. For instance, if the id wanted the person it inhabits to get some money, the superego would counter the id and make the person earn the money legitimately because stealing is wrong. The superego is split in two sections: the conscience and the ego ideal. The conscience differentiates between right and wrong, while the ego ideal works with morals instilled by society, such as prejudices. These three sections of mind balance each other in order to k...

... middle of paper ...

...ish does throughout The Cat in the Hat.


Freud understood the mind as constantly in conflict with itself. He saw children so accurately that he knew what they wanted to say and thought of what they wanted to hear. It is because of this factor that The Cat in the Hat is one of the most popular children's books ever. The reader of The Cat in the Hat understands the book as a fun read on a rainy day. However, the more educated reader sees it as a Freudian allegory. Theodore Geisel was brilliant in this area because he exposed a common incident that happens, one way or another, in every child's life.



Works Cited

Seuss, Dr. The Cat in the Hat. New York: Random House, 1957.

Stevenson, David B. "Freud's Division of the Mind." Brown University. 11 November 1999.

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