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Theodor Seuss Geisel

by Suha Kazi from San Diego

The Cat in the Hat (Google Images ())
The Cat in the Hat (Google Images ())

     "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." (Dr. Seuss) This quote by Dr. Seuss shows how he used cheerful ways to teach people a lesson. Ted Seuss Geisel was a man who illustrated wonderful books for children. His career as an illustrator began in his childhood, when he drew animals for fun at the zoo where his father worked. "He loved to draw, but was discouraged by his first art teacher in high school, who told him he would never learn how. " (Ebsco)  Dr. Seuss was discouraged from turning his talent into his profession many times in his life. But in the end, he did write books, though they were not as incredible as The Cat in the Hat. "In 1954, Geisel was presented with a new challenge. When journalist John Hersey published an article in Life magazine stating that children's first readers were boring and suggested that someone like Dr. Seuss should write them, Geisel accepted the challenge. After looking at the list of words he had to use, Geisel found it difficult to be imaginative with such words as "cat" and "hat." At first thinking he could pound the 225-word manuscript out in three weeks, it took Geisel more than a year to write his version of a child's first reading primer. It was worth the wait."(Shelly Schwartz) Dr. Seuss was patient and understood that all brilliance took time. He had hope in himself and humbly accepted the challenge that was presented to him in the magazine. He had great moral character and included them in his illustrations. Dr. Seuss was a great writer and illustrator with great moral character and he used his skills to teach children creativity, life-long lessons, and the importance of all things. 

The Lorax is trying to save the Truffula trees.  (Google Images ())
The Lorax is trying to save the Truffula trees. (Google Images ())

    Dr. Seuss enhanced the imagination of children using his exquisite vocabulary. He made up his own words to spark the imagination of children around the world. "With the use of silly words that set an original theme, tone, and mood for his stories, Geisel created books that became beloved favorites of children and adults"(Shelly Schwartz) Dr. Seuss created many words such as: flunnel, glikker, and snuvs. He used his words to set a happy and energetic atmosphere for his readers. Not only did he create new words to set an optimistic attitude, but also to assist him in rhyming. "Geisel credited his mother, Henrietta Seuss Geisel, for the most influence on his writing technique. Henrietta would read to her two children with rhythm and urgency, the way she had sold pies in her father's bakery. Thus Geisel had an ear for meter and loved to make up nonsense rhymes early on. "(Shelly Schwartz) When Dr. Seuss was a child, his mother used to use rhymes as a fun way to read to her children. He acquired the ability to rhyme quite well with his mother at an early age. And when he began to write books for children, he recalled what his mother used to do and incorporated it into his books. Dr. Seuss used rhyme to attract his audience to the text and used silly, made up words to create an enjoyable atmosphere. 

The Sneetches (Google Images ())
The Sneetches (Google Images ())

     Another way that Dr. Seuss boosted the imagination of children is through his artistic abilities. He drew many new and different animals. "Geisel tagged along with his father for behind-the-scene peeks at the Springfield Zoo, bringing along his sketchpad and pencil for exaggerated doodling of animals."(Shelly Schwartz) In all of Dr. Seuss's drawings and doodles, he always drew abstract versions of the objects or animals that he would be drawing. He had a different and unique way of looking at the world, and he expressed it through his illustrations. "His artistic style is unmistakable: using bold, heavy black strokes he created an array of creatures that have been described as fantastic, bizarre, even surreal."(Ebsco) At first, parents and children did not like the bold, bizarre creations that he drew in his books. But slowly they became more open-minded towards Dr. Seuss's views on the world and began to enjoy it. Not only did Dr. Seuss spark the imagination of his audience, but he also made his audience more approachable as well.

The morals of the books that Dr Seuss wrote.  (Google Images ())
The morals of the books that Dr Seuss wrote. (Google Images ())

     Not only did Dr. Seuss expand the imagination of children in his books, but he also sent a hidden message for children and their parents. Children can be taught about real-life issues and morals in a sutle but fun and abstract way.  "Despite their obvious delight in sheer nonsense, Seuss's books often carry a serious moral message. For Horton Hears a Who Seuss drew on memories of a trip to the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which had been devastated by an atomic bomb at the end World War II. The threat of nuclear war also inspired The Butter Battle Book. The Lorax, which Seuss claimed was his favorite book, features a world where the environment is being ruined in the name of progress. The Sneetches takes on the problem of prejudice, and You're Only Old Once, supposedly for adults, but enjoyed by children as well, is about the problems of growing old."(Ebsco) Dr. Seuss's stories addressed problems that he thought needed to be pointed out to adults at that particular time period. Many of those were problems like discrimination, pollution, rapid industrial growth, World War II, atomic bombing, arrogance, greed, and many more. Many of these were problems for adults, not for children.  Nevertheless, he did also write lessons for children in his books. "Seuss's activist children's books tell readers that even the smallest, apparently insignificant person has an important role to play."(Ebsco) He showed children that even the smallest and seemingly unimportant things serve a purpose and have been created for a reason. Dr. Seuss wrote his books to express his opinions along with hidden morals.

This is Dr. Seuss. (Google Images)
This is Dr. Seuss. (Google Images)

     Dr. Seuss was a hero because he had great morals and he taught others those morals through the books that he wrote. He made children creative and imaginative by his use of abstract pictures. He also made up words for his books, showing children how to think outside of the box. Not only did he do all that, but he wrote hidden messages in his books that taught children to be good. Dr. Seuss is an inspirational person, because, like most writers, he didn't just write his books for amusement. He wrote his books to teach in a fun way. "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." (Dr. Seuss). Here is an example of how he made up words like "youer and truer". And I believe that with those words he taught many people to be selfless, creative, imaginative, confident, to step up for themselves and others, and to live up to their dreams and expectations.

Page created on 4/21/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/21/2013 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.
 

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About.com
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Seussville - An interactive Dr. Seuss website made by Dr. Seuss's second wife for kids.
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