Theodor Geisel

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THESIS Theodor Geisel’s political activism during World War II, especially in the form of his political cartoons, heavily influenced his work as a children’s author, and impacted the messages of Horton Hears a Who and Yertle the Turtle. INTRODUCTION Dr. Seuss is known for his phenomenal creatures, invented words, and rhymes that surpassed absurdity and became something beautiful. Before that, though, Theodor Geisel was nationally noted for his political cartoons during World War II that enticed the mind to do more than think, but to ask questions and crave knowledge and justice. Dr. Seuss was not just a whimsical alter-ego of Mr. Geisel by any means, however. Dr. Seuss allowed Geisel to communicate his message to a new audience, in a unique way. Before his death, he left the world with a simple plea- “We need to do better” (Nell 294). The legacy he left behind paves the trail for society to do just that. THE BIRTH OF MR. GEISEL, THE CREATION OF DR. SEUSS On March 2nd, 1904, the world got its first glimpse of the man who would forever change the world of children’s literature. Theodor Seuss Geisel was born to Henrietta and Theodor Robert Geisel on this day in Springfield, Massachusetts. He had one older sister, Marnie, who was his hero and best friend. She was the basis of many of his stories. Later, his parents would have another daughter, Henrietta, but the family was struck by tragedy when she died of pneumonia. Henrietta Sr. and Theodor Robert reacted to this disaster by investing all of their love and focus into their remaining two children (Levine, 9). The Geisels, though they were not wealthy, lived a comfortable life. They were of German descent, and took great pride in their heritage until th... ... middle of paper ... ...course, are the turtles are free, as turtles, and maybe all creatures, should be” (10). CONCLUSION Theodor Seuss Geisel died a hero among children and adults alike. He accomplished a task that would be impossible to most- he was able to incorporate not only the simple difference between good and bad, but the realities of social injustice and the power of the oppressed, into children’s books. Clifton Fadiman, writer for The New Yorker, may have most accurately described Dr. Seuss in an article following his death- “[He is] the most useful children’s author of our time. He has helped dispel a lot of the nonsense that children are taught and… his books always maintained their universal cry for wonder, fairness, and love (Morgan 291).” Geisel used his political knowledge and passion to open the eyes of all people, no matter how young, and no matter how small.
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