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The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins


by Dr. Seuss

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins Meaning

What is this book really about?

A Story of a Tool and his Rule

But the Kingdom of Didd isn't Bear Country where the ever-wise Mama Bear dishes out sound rulings to harmonize the follies of the ever-bumbling Papa Bear. Instead, Derwin's court is populated with people who are a mix of the two: Mama Bear's rule-centered worldview combined with Papa Bear's foolishness.

In fact, when Bartholomew first encounters the King, we see this duel aspect at play:

The Royal Coachman shouted to the royal horses. The King's Own Guards shouted to their crimson-robed horses. The trumpeters shouted to their yellow-robed horses. Very slowly the whole procession backed down the street, until the King's carriage stopped right in front of Bartholomew. (17)

The King stopped an entire royal procession and had the whole thing back up to make sure a boy removed his hat for him as per the rules. Pretty ridiculous, right? But it only gets worse. Soon the whole Kingdom is oh-me, oh-mying over the boy "'who won't take off his hat'" (46). And the King brings in a host of court members to try to solve the problem, each attempting a more ridiculous solution than the last.

Making matters more ridiculous is the fact that Bartholomew wants to remove his hat. He tries to do so many times for the King even though "'it won't do any good'" (49). This isn't enough for King Derwin, though. Desire to follow the rule isn't the same as actually following it, and those who don't follow must be punished.

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