The Lorax

The Lorax
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The Lorax is a popular children’s book written by Dr. Seuss that raises critical environmental issues. The Lorax character “speaks for the trees” and the book’s plot details him confronting the Once-ler who is a personification of corporate greed and industries, to stand up against environmental degradations. This fable has been used to teach children worldwide about human-man and resource issues and has been adapted into a animated movie.

The keyword “picture book” stood out to me because they are such a critical part of one’s childhood. According to the Keywords essay,“The role of the picture book – be they psychotheraputic, sedative, role modeling (gender), mathematical skill building, or as memory books for geography cultural heritage, or history – are to echo Barbara Bader – limitless”. The Lorax takes this interpretation to heart, creating a timeless, meaningful and impactful story that has been used as an educational tool for generations. Interestingly, according to the keyword “The picture book may be seen as a descendant of the European propaganda war”. In a way, the Lorax also is acting as a sort of propaganda for the anti industrial movement. Perhaps this is how picture books transitioned from more propaganda like topics to fables and moral tales that aim to convince readers of a certain theme. Picture books are a malleable cultural medium that serve didactic purposes for children; their message is strengthened by the inclusion of pictures. As you may remember from the Lorax, the stories message would not be as strong if not for the inclusion of the illustrations which depict the damage of the Once-ler on the environment. Creating the images of the bright truffula trees allows the reader to be empathetic and make a connection with the environment that the Lorax is fighting for.

4 thoughts on “The Lorax”

  1. I enjoyed your analysis, Christiane! I was thinking about the books we’ve read throughout this semester and how picture within some of those books play into our understanding of the novels as whole pieces of work. I specifically thought about Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the role images play in this novel. We touched on caricatures and the portrayal of African-American individuals throughout literature, within texts and through images. I think it’s interesting to consider the role over time that picture books have played in creating and upholding racist stereotypes, and possibly in recent years helped to dismantle them.

  2. I like your focus on picture books being propaganda, especially in the context of Dr. Seuss. I know he wrote a lot of picture books during the cold war that were anti-war propaganda as well as pro-environmental propaganda. The book The Butter Battle Book is actually pretty easily connected to being a representation of the arms race, and destruction of the world by nuclear weapons, teaching kids about the cold war without directly doing so.

  3. I loved the Lorax growing up! It is interesting how when you are little reading these books, you don’t realize that they are teaching you important life lessons, but they really do teach children a lot. This seems to be something that you become aware of when you are older and reading these books to other children. Interesting post!!

  4. Thank you for sharing! I can certainly recall the illustrations in many Dr. Seuss books. Your point on images strengthening the messages of novels really struck me. Additionally, I would argue that “picture books” are capable of telling a narrative without even requiring text.

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