What kind of books did you read while growing up? Chances are that you read at least one Dr. Seuss book in your life. At first they all just seem like a crazy story made up in a crazy part of the mind, but take another look and you just might learn something more.
Have you ever read The Sneeches? It tells of these creatures that are segregated into stars and no-stars on their stomachs. Seuss wrote this book to tell young children about segregation and racism. Seuss even experienced it himself as he was mistaken for a Jew, even though he was a German Christian. Seuss was made fun of and he saw others in the same situation and felt the need to do something about it. Seuss was not always on the right side though, as during World War II he was for the Japanese imprisonment and believed it was good how we treated them. I believe that Seuss had a change of heart when he realized what he was saying years later when he began to write Horton Hears a Who.
Horton Hears a Who has the same ring to it as The Sneeches, though quite different at the same time. Seuss dedicated this book to a Japanese friend of his, which tells us a little something about the meaning of it. This story tells us “a person’s a person no matter how small.” which I think was his discovery that what he said was wrong. Even though they were the Japanese people he learned that we should not treat people like that. I believe it is a tribute to those who championed for the rights of the American Japanese as they, just like Horton, meant what they said and said what they meant. We must never give up our ideals and we must stand up for them through tribulations of many kinds.
One thing that stands out to me as a Christian that believes that a baby is a person at conception is the idea that “a person’s a person no matter how small.” In 2008, right here in Colorado there was a group that pushed for an amendment to the state constitution that defines personhood as when you are conceived. This was also about the time the film for Horton Hears a Who came out. You can guess what happened next, as the group promoting the amendment began to wear T-shirts that quoted that very same line. Apparently those representing Dr. Seuss didn’t like it and told them to take it off. So did Seuss intend to include babies in his statement? Probably not, as he was a liberal and fought for women’s rights, but it doesn’t matter. The statement remains the same. A baby is still a person even though they are not born yet. Who are we to discount them a soul?
Now the most surprising thing to me is how many Christians, whether that be Protestant or Catholic, do not believe that a baby is a person. The biggest concern for them is whether the girl in question was raped. Now, I do agree with them that the girl should not have that hanging over their head for their entire life and that there are many women out there having an unplanned pregnancy. Does this mean that the baby is somehow less of a person because they were not planned or because the father was a rapist? I would recommend giving up the baby to someone who wants one or even may not be able to have one. Bless them with the gift of a child and not take the life of one.
Of course there are many other problems with letting the child live, but does that change things really? What if the mother might die in childbirth what then do we do? Does a mother have the right to kill her unborn child?
What do his other stories tell us? There are some really interesting things to be seen in his other books as well: The Cat in the Hat is about challenging authority so watch out parents if this is your child’s favorite book. How the Grinch stole christmas is more obvious as it is about materialism during Christmastime. Green Eggs and Ham was a challenge to write an entire book in 50 words. Yertle the turtle was about Hitler and all his power. The Butter Battle Book was about nuclear weapons and the Cold war. But one of my favorites, The Lorax, is a very interesting one as well.
The Lorax is rather direct with its point, and is about conservation. In fact, there are many schools around the country that have banned this book in favor of another book called The Truax. The Truax, written by the logging companies as they took offense to the original book. The concepts and the story of the original are rather obvious but I would like to propose some interesting points about the story. What if the Lorax is a christ figure? After all, Seuss was a Christian. He would have been influenced by the Christian story in his writing, though maybe not intentionally.
First of all, the Once-ler comes to us towards the end of days and tells us the story of the fall and tells us how to take care of this world, something that the bible teaches us as well. He then tells of how after it all the Lorax was taken up into the sky. Finally we are given one thing to remember it all. The last seed, a seed of hope for a new world to come.
Now I may be reading into it a bit much but I believe that it is an interesting parallel to say the least. There are many parallels of christ today and many of them are not plain to see. What kind of impact do you think these things have on you and the way you live your life? Does the tale heard during childhood stay with you throughout your life and continue to speak volumes?