Dr Seuss': Literary Criticism

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There is a man who is known for the tales he has sown, told to children young and almost full-grown. One is a cat that wears a hat, another a Horton that hears a who, and a Grinch who stole Christmas got a new heart, too. He was a Dr. named Seuss, but not a doctor at all. Just a man who loved writing for big and small. No one really knows the man behind the famous books of rhyme and reason. They only know the doctor who had changed the lives of many seasons, and created a legacy that will remembered through the years. This man is an ordinary author that enjoyed to write stories and draw animals.

This author is your one and only Theodor Robert Geisel, Dr. Seuss. Geisel was able to use the power of imagination to make over 40 memorable, colorful, and unique animated children’s books that has aided to solve illiteracy in American children book. Theodor Robert Geisel also knows as Ted, was born on March 2, 1904 to German immigrants. His father owned a very successful brewery in Springfield, Massachusetts. As a child, Geisel went to the zoo as his favorite pass time with his family every single Sunday. He was so good at drawing animals were his father bought him a sketch book, that Geisel drew in every weekend and his mother allowed him to paint on the walls in the house. His animals always looked like caricatures, and from a very young age, they knew he had a very whimsical imagination. In the 1920’s his father could no longer run the family’s brewery and later became the head of the Springfield zoo instead. Now Ted Geisel can now go to the zoo whenever he wanted and draw the animals. He continued to this for the rest of his life.

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Growing up during WWI many children would make fun of Geisel and his family calling them drunken Germans. This isolated him from his peers a lot and spends a lot of time alone, largely being an introvert. With the close friends he did have, he would use his sense of humor to cope with the bad times at school. Later he was accepted to Dartmouth College, where he started to draw short comics in the human magazine. In span of 3 years, Ted becomes the editor, and this was just the start of his life long journey. He meets Helen Palmer in one of his classes and the two quickly fell in love. One night the dean caught Geisel drinking an illegal bottle of gin and having parties in his dorm, where later they removed him from his position as editor. Ted decided to secretly draw and contributing to the magazine going by the pen name Dr. Seuss. Although he did not have a doctoral degree, he decided to go by doctor instead of mister.

Because his father hoped that his love of animals would inspire Seuss to be a vet. He later moved to New York city, where he wrote funny ads illustrating them with characters and was able to post his very first cartoon in the Saturday Evening Post in 1927. In the beginning, Ted fully intended to write jokes for adults, however his contract for posting in funny papers made his clients feel that it would be indirect competition. Fortunately, it did not mention anything about children’s books, which is the reason why he decided to get started in that genre. He decided to marry his college sweetheart Hellen Palmer. He later posted his first children’s book “And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street”, but every publisher rejected him. A lot people saw this book for a way to give children reasons to lie. Other books around that time only spoke of how kids are supposed to be moral and was never enjoyable to read. So, Geisel decided to continue to write ads, until he met one of his old friends that was able to help get his book published. Only giving Geisel moderate success.

The Dr. Seuss books continued to show kids getting into trouble. Unlike other books, Ted’s books were fun to read, unlike a lecture. In 1940, Dr. Seuss later produces a book called “ Horton Hatches the Egg”, giving children a moral lessons. With Americas involvement in WWII, Ted would have to take a break from children’s books.

During this time Ted decided to stop sketching whimsical creatures and choose to draw Hitler instead. He felt that political cartoons were so important, that he decided to join a political group PM. For years the USA refused to get involved with the war and Ted believed that the country should help the people in Europe. He finally got his wish when the United States joined the war. He wanted to serve in the military, however despite his age of 30, he was far to old. Ted decided to enlist anyways, but while the recruiter was looking at his resume, decided to make him one of the propagandas play writes, earning the title Captain Geisel.

They moved his whole family down to L.A. and put him in charge of the animation unit. This is where they were working on propaganda cartoons for the army also known as “Private Snafu”. After the war, Geisel received fame from directing and editing the cartoon films from the army. He used this fame to write more books and movies of various films. After taking along break from children’s books, Ted learned that children literacy rates in the United States were dramatically low. So he decided that he was going to do something about that. This is when he wrote the “The Cat In The Hat” and was published in 1957 when he was 53 years of age. He purposely wrote the book with a 225 vocab, to ensure that every elementary child could read it. This book alone helped increase children’s literacy rates. By 1960, the book had sold over 1 million copies. One of his friends decided to give Ted a challenge to see if he could write a book with only 50 words. Ted accepted and later produced “Green Eggs and Ham”, which was equally as successful as the “The Cat In The Hat”.

He wanted to prove that writing is not just having a big vocab, in fact all you need to do is to tell a good story. He continued to write more books and starting new series, that were simple enough to read were the children are able to understand and learn. He started to work 7 days a week, so he could produce a book every year; often writing over 1000 pages and narrowing it down to 60. Over the course of his lifetime he has authored and co authored 66 books. Though out his life, Ted was able to enjoy the superstar penname without the celebrity issue that come with it. He would get numerous of letters in the mail and have his picture posted, however, few children knew what he looked like at all. He was able to blend in to society with minor issues.

Ted was afraid of the fact that him self as Ted Geisel was way to boring unlike the whimsical person Dr. Seuss. For someone who wrote children’s books, people would believe that he loved kids. However, Ted compared kids like the adults, saying, some are great, and others are jerks. After a couple of awkward speeches at schools, Ted decided to act more like Dr. Seuss instead of himself, feeling more comfortable doing so. Later, Ted lifelong partner Hellen Palmer was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome becoming completely paralyzed. Thinking matters couldn’t get worse, she was also diagnosed with terminal cancer. This had a strain on the marriage, where she would act differently causing them to be more like friends than lovers. Ted later goes out to have a secret affair with a married woman named Audrey Dimond. Hellen finds out about the affair, so in 1967 she decided to commit suicide. Ted blamed himself saying, “I didn’t know whether to kill myself, burn the house down, or just go away and get lost”. His former interest left her husband and got married to Ted later showing him the joy of writing again. In 1984 Ted Geisel won the Pulitzer prize in children’s literature having his books translated into 30 languages. Theodor Geisel was diagnosed with oral cancer and died on September 24, 1991 at the age of 87.

Three weeks before his death he asked for his bed to moved into his studio where he could be surrounded with all his work. When he was alive, Ted didn’t ask for any merchandise in return for his work. His wife Audrey became the owner of the Dr. Seuss franchise and gave permission to create movies, cartoons, and toys. Only if she could oversee the project. Dr. Seuss was a renown classical author who has taught to many different languages. He would be delighted to know that his Dr. Seuss brand is still spending the word of literacy and fun to many children, giving all of them a chance to learn.

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Dr Seuss’: Literary Criticism. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/dr-seuss-literary-criticism/
“Dr Seuss’: Literary Criticism.” Edubirdie, 25 Nov. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/dr-seuss-literary-criticism/
Dr Seuss’: Literary Criticism. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/dr-seuss-literary-criticism/> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Dr Seuss’: Literary Criticism [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Nov 25 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/dr-seuss-literary-criticism/

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