Saturday, December 1, 2012

"Dr.Seuss Goes to War"

After reading Dr. Seuss’ “The Butter Battle Book” I had a lot of questions;Seuss’ stance on war, the intention of the book, etc. While researching Dr. Seuss’ background I concluded that the book’s message was intended to extend further than just an educational children’s book about war; there was a deeper message behind “The Butter Battle Book”. Initially upon reading the book I realized it differed from other educational material we had seen in class that intended to teach children about nuclear war; i.e. “Duck and Cover”. Dr. Seuss’ book extended beyond purely educational material, he had a creative way of discreetly inserting his opinion of nuclear war into the book. I initially interpreted the book as a quasi-mockery of the triviality of nuclear war. The way he made a book chronicling the issues of the Cold War as a battle over which side of the bread should be buttered, the competitive battle over who can create the more, silly-named, destructive weapon, and the resulting, almost comedic, uncertain ending of “Who’s going to drop it? Will you…? Or Will he…?” that came about after the whole ordeal. After researching further into Dr. Seuss’ stance on war, my perspective of the book was somewhat altered. Now, it is apparent to me that if anything, the book wasn’t intended as a mockery of the Cold War itself, but rather of the cowardice and idleness of Americans against these foreign terrorists.

It appears that Dr. Seuss was the author of a string of political cartoons calling for action against foreign threats to the U.S.; such as, the Nazis and the Japanese. He also illustrated a number of cartoons reprimanding the American “gutless” man. I’ve included some of these illustrations below:

So, as I had suspected, “The Butter Battle Book” could definitely be interpreted to speak to a further cause than just for the education of children about nuclear war. And the message the book is portraying is something along the lines of “get up, and fight!”. In consideration of some of Dr. Seuss' books and political cartoons, he did indeed, "go to war".