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Green Eggs and Ham: Do Not Let Your Kids Read This

May 13, 2020

 

 

The cover of the book hints at the subtle themes of guilty pleasures and forbidden love that lie within the story. As you can see, the character who claims to hate green eggs and ham is clearly bent over in awe of the very alluring dish. Did you know the song Tainted Love by Soft Cell was based off of this book?

       

          In the beginning God created heaven and earth. This was considered one of God’s most commercially successful projects and was a huge hit in many parts of the universe except in Eastern Europe, where the overwhelming majority of people believe their existence is a colossal mistake. Nonetheless, the creation of the universe was believed to be the most impactful action affecting the way we go about our daily lives. God’s creation even went on to inspire three very well received books; The Torah, The Torah’s sequel, The Bible, and The Bible’s sequel with a cool paradigm shift, The Quran. The trilogy is extremely popular, and even has spin offs such as The Book of Mormon, The Book of Mormon: the Musical, and an elaborate essay on the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Not only is this book series very popular, but it also has the most passionate fans of any fandom; many of whom violently clash to this day in heated arguments about which book is the best one. It's very safe to say that God’s creation of the universe is reigning supreme in the field of significant events. Or at least it was, up until the famed Dr. Seuss dropped an absolute unit of literature for everyone to feast their eyes on; a psychological drama titled Green Eggs and Ham. 

          In this epic, Dr. Seuss takes up the role of not only an author, but a guide through the mysterious caverns that are the human mind. He gives you an insightful perspective on a hero’s journey to pull a man out of his dark continuum of endless despair and into the light of salvation. It also sounds pretty sick when read aloud to a drumbeat. The only downside to the highly profound nature of this book is that only a handful of intellectuals can grasp the story’s underlying themes and messages. Yes, in theory you could read this book to a mere child as a bedtime story, but you could also cut up all of the paintings in the DIA and pass them out as napkins at a barbecue. Anybody who demeans the story of Green Eggs and Ham by implying a child can wrap their mind around its message probably eats fiberglass like it's cotton candy. A book of such caliber is lost on a dim mind like a shopper trying to find the exit of an Ikea. However, it brands a permanent and clear impression on a bright mind. In fact, I still remember the first time I read this masterpiece as if it was yesterday. (In fact, today. Right now. I'm stuck on page 4. My mother always tells me to sound out the word but that doesn’t seem to be helping me at the moment.) 

          Due to the deep and sophisticated themes of the storyline, any attempt at literary analysis of Green Eggs and Ham cleaves and fractures the intellectual community into several different schools of thought.

          The debate starts at the very beginning of the book where Dr. Seuss pushes us straight into the deep end with an intense identity crisis.  There are few things worse than feeling as though you are a stranger in your own skin, and that is what our main man, Sam I Am expresses in his very first line of dialogue. “I am Sam. I am Sam. Sam I Am.” We are only nine words into the story and the levees have already broken. This bit of monologue already has us asking questions the brightest and best minds on earth couldn't answer. Is Sam his first name and I Am his last name or is it the other way around? Does he know he is speaking for an audience or is he just talking to himself because he thinks nobody can hear. Why does he feel the need to introduce himself three times? Who is he trying to convince that he is in fact Sam I Am? The reader? Himself? The voices in his head? What if we are the voices in his head? If you think you understand you don't. Trust me, you’re not that smart. 

          Heavy material right? Just wait till the next sentence. A new character is introduced making his debut in this story by making a judgmental comment from afar: “That Sam I Am! That Sam I Am! I do not like that Sam I Am!” We know this Sam I am guy must be a pretty big deal if even his haters address him three times. This is a nameless character who is older, cynical and quick to judge. Upon meeting a new person they already have their mind made up about how they view them based off of hearing them say a nine word self introduction. This character is possibly based on the parents of anyone I’ve ever dated. There are theories that this character is not actually real and is just all in Sam I Am’s head; that Sam I Am’s hedonistic lifestyle and the floods of dopamine from frequent consumption of green eggs and ham (one could say it is perhaps a metaphor for narcotics) was too much for his mind to handle and now he has Dissociative Identity Disorder. Is that even medically accurate? The author’s first name is Doctor, he knows exactly what he’s doing. This theory is airtight and foolproof. Despite making up 50% of the characters in this book and most of the dialogue, nobody bothered to name this character.  When someone isn’t real, people really just don't want to invest a lot of energy into them. 

          However, in my humble (but correct) opinion, he is more likely just a stubborn part of Sam I Am’s brain who manifests in resistance to the fun, harmless experience of trying green eggs and ham just because of what some dweeb told them in eighth grade health class. When offered green eggs and ham, he practically blows his load in anger and responds with an entire paragraph of malicious rejection. Even a friendly attempt at compromise with him flies like a lead balloon. When Sam I Am offers a change of scenery and invites the cynic into his home for a meal of green eggs and ham, his warm spirited proposition is shot down in cold blood. The cynic takes this gesture of hospitality and tears it to shreds. What kind of guy reacts this way to being invited into someone’s home? Someone who’s scared of homes. Not only is the cynic evil and stubborn, but also homophobic in God’s good year of whenever this book was written. 

          As any good foil would, Sam I Am persists in antagonizing his acquaintance for the rest of the book to push green eggs and ham on him. He tries to bribe him with exotic pets and trips on trains -- and honestly this is starting to sound like a desperate bribe but really I can't say I wouldn't take him up on it. Towards the end of the book you learn that the person who has been avidly hating on green eggs and ham this whole time has never tried it. This clown has been hating from outside the club when he couldn't even get in. The second he tries it, he does a complete 180. He is hooked. He becomes a part of something he avidly despised. What the doctor in all his glory and medical expertise created here was a beautiful specimen of protein-induced epiphany. The message that hatred built on a foundation of lies and prejudice will be easily knocked over with the slightest modicum of truth contributes to this book’s massive cultural significance. Massive, in this case, is not a big enough word to describe just how influential this book is.

          Once you see the raw beauty of Green Eggs and Ham, it's all you think about and all you talk about. In fact, I have been banned from at children’s story time and other public forums at nine public libraries and nobody talks to me anymore because they’re “tired of hearing about that stupid book”. Some people just don't get it. At least Ted Cruz gets it. He read the entire story on the senate floor while making his case against Obamacare. I'm not sure what it was Obama cared about so much that had Ted Cruz angry, but I must say the interpretive reading really swayed me to consider Ted Cruz’s point of view.

          As sagacious, perspicacious, and well written as this book is, it was only written using only 50 different words (yes he repeated some, you saucebox). He made a masterpiece touching on themes of a corrupted sense of personal identity, existentialism, firmly planted cynicism and second-birth redemption in only 50 words. Do you have any Idea how resourceful an artist you would have to be to use just 50 words to do all that? That would be like if Michelangelo used a few grains of sand for his sculptures. Or if Da Vinci used two shades of grey to create the Mona Lisa. Or if Outkast used only one note to write Hey Ya. It's a rare and bold feat to accomplish, but you can actually see it replicated in some of Dr. Seuss’s other books. He teaches us about anatomy in The Foot Book. He teaches us the importance of abstinence in I Had Trouble In Getting To Solla Sollew. He even comes up with a solution for racism and other societal problems in The Complete and Unabridged Pocket Book of Boners. You’re welcome.

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