Dr.Seuss Research Paper
Theodor Seuss Geisel Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. His father and grandfather managed the family brewery in town, while his mother told him and his sister, Marnie, rhymes she had remembered being told from childhood. Geisel attended Dartmouth College after graduating from Springfield’s Classical High School. When attending Dartmouth, he joined a fraternity and the college’s humor magazine, the Jack-O-Lantern. He worked hard writing for the magazine, and became the editor-in-chief.
Theodor Geisel and some of his friends were caught drinking, which was against the school policy, forcing him to resign from all extracurricular activities.
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Since he did not want to resign from the magazine, Theodor started to sign his work with the pen name of “Seuss”. It was not until after college that the “Dr. ” was added to the front of “Seuss”. Geisel’s father wanted him to be a college professor, so to please him he went to Oxford University in England following his graduation from Dartmouth College.
While at Oxford, he became bored with academic studies and made the decision to tour Europe instead of studying. Even though he found Oxford boring, he met his first wife, Helen Palmer, while attending. When Geisel was done with his tour of Europe and returned to the United States, he started his career as a cartoonist. Some of his cartoons were published in The Saturday Evening Post, and he also had more published in other publications. Theodor Geisel also spent more than fifteen years creating advertising campaigns. He started doing weekly political cartoons at the beginning of World War II.
To help with the war, he made training movies for the U. S. Army. This was when Geisel was introduced to animation. He began illustrating children’s books when an editor of the Viking Press proposed a contract to him. Theodor Geisel’s first wife committed suicide on October 23, 1967, after struggling with sickness and emotional pain caused by his affair with his female friend, Aubrey Stone. Then on June 21, 1968, Geisel married Aubrey Stone who was his wife up until the day he died. Geisel died of throat cancer on September 24, 1991.
When he died, Theodor Geisel had illustrated 44 children’s books, which had been translated into more than 15 languages. He had sold more than 200 million copies of his books that had impacted the lives of people all around the world. Theodore Geisel was an author who had a successful career. Some people called him “the man who taught me to read” (qtd in Nel), while some called him “the man who helped me appreciate humor and art”(qtd in Nel). His career consisted of writing cartoons and children’s books, which eventually were turned into movies.
Before Geisel started writing children’s books, he wrote cartoons for the PM magazine. The PM magazine was a left leaning daily paper, especially during WWII when Seuss was working for them. PM was labeled by people as “one newspaper that can and dares to tell the truth” (qtd in Nel). The paper “did not pause to spare anyone’s feelings, and neither did Seuss” (Nel). Geisel drew many cartoons about the war for PM magazine. Most of his cartoons, people found offensive because of the way he drew the people. One of the most offensive cartoons that Geisel wrote consisted of a cartoon of Senator Nye.
The cartoon called the senator “a horse’s ass”. Before it was published Ralph Ingeroll warned Geisel not to publish it because it could cause the paper a “million-dollar lawsuit” (qtd in Nel). Instead of the lawsuit, Seuss received a letter politely asking for the original cartoon. Geisel ignored the letter that the senator sent him. Cohen defends Seuss and his cartoons by saying, “It is hard to look beyond these cartoon depictions to realize that Ted made people of every race and culture look equally ugly. It was just part of the humor. …] But others are indefensible, clearly evidencing that Ted sometimes fell prey to the prejudices of the day. ”(qtd in Nel) When Geisel looked back on his cartoon career, he remarked, “I was intemperate, un-humorous in my attacks… and I’d do it again” (qtd. in Nel). Even though Geisel wrote cartoons, his biggest sellers and successes were his children’s books. He enjoyed writing the children’s books; he explains, “I’d rather write for kids. They are more appreciative. Adults are obsolete children and the hell with them” (qtd in Kibler).
It was because of his children books that Seuss was labeled the “American Icon”. He is best known for his way of writing, and how he can make any child get hooked on his books. “New generation[sic] of criticism have revealed that Dr. Seuss indeed is a figure of awesome cultural designation within childhood in the American middle class’s ideology”(Nel). Geisel was referred to by Robert Wilson of the New York Times Book Reviews as “possibly the best-loved and certainly the best-selling children’s book writer of all time”.
Geisel has been accused of being sexist towards women in his earlier writing career. Critics have said that his work has a “conspicuous absence of women” (Zawacki). “Of the 42 children’s books Theodore Seuss Geisel published before his death, not one had a title who was female” (Zawacki). It was not until 1995 that Geisel published a book titled Daisy-Head Mayzie; it was based on an animated television special. Daisy-Head Mayzie had a strong female character named Mayzie. The story was a big seller and it proved to the critics that he was not sexist.
Even though Geisel cartoons during WWII were offensive others agreed with the cartoons and did not find them offensive. He wrote and illustrated children’s books that are still being sold and were made into movies today. Geisel proved those people who accused him of being sexist wrong by writing a book that had a strong female character. Everyone has a different opinion on Dr. Seuss, but most people agree and label him as “the modern Mother Goose”(Zawacki). Seuss’s writings made a great impact on people in both good and bad ways; yet he still had a very successful career with no regrets
Between 1937 and 1991, Theodore Geisel published 42 children’s books which were often characterized by his imaginative characters and rhyme. He has sold over half a billion copies of his books. Some of his books have been made into audiocassettes, videos, animated television specials, and even a major motion picture for children of all ages. Some of his books have even been translated into different languages as well. Geisel proved to the world that it was possible to write children’s books with a limited vocabulary and make the books best sellers. The plots of the Dr.
Seuss books are entertaining and often teach a lesson, from the importance of taking responsibility for the earth and one another to learning what is really important. Dr. Seuss’s books are such great sellers, that his books are being taught and read to children all over the world, while his movies are being view around the world as well. Theodore Geisel had won dozens of awards for his work. Some of those awards include the following: the Pulitzer Prize, three Academy Awards, an Emmy Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, three Caldecott Honor Awards, and the Regina Medal.
Not only did he earn awards, Geisel also received honors for his work, including a Doctorate of Humane Letters from his alma mater, Dartmouth and six other honorary doctorates. His stories had such an impact that The Universal Studio’s Theme Park Islands of Adventure has a part of its park designated for Seuss lovers of all ages called Seuss Landing. Works Cited Flynn, Richard. “The Cat in the Hat for President. ” Literature Online. 2005. Children’s Literature. 11 Sept. 2011 . May, Jill P. “The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing but the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel/Dr.
Seuss: American Icon. ” Literature Online. 2005. Lion and the Unicorn. 11 Sept. 2011 . Nel, Philip. “Children’s Literature Goes to War: Dr. Seuss. ” Wiley Online Library. 14 May 2007. The Journal of Popular Culture, 2007, 40, 3, 468-487, Blackwell Publishing Inc. 11 Sept. 2011 . Nel, Philip. “Dada Knows Best: Growing Up ‘Surreal’ with Dr. Seuss. ” Literature Online. 1999. Children’s Literature. 11 Aug. 2011 . Nel, Philip. “Said a bird in the midst of a blitz… “: How World War II created Dr. Seuss. ” Literature Online. 2001. Mosaic. 11 Sept. 2011 .