Bartholomew and the Oobleck Meaning
What is this book really about?
Power Structures: Great for the Powerful, Bad for the Little Guy
But we're not stopping there. Just like Bill Lumbergh, we're going to have to say that this story is about TPS reports. (Sorry, we need to have an Office Space reference every so often or we have ourselves a case of the Mondays.)
Not really. But Bartholomew is about even more than what happens when authority figures let their desires run the game. This is also very much about the people lower down on the ladder—Bartholomew Cubbins, in this case—and how the established power structure keeps him in line for most of the story. Sure, he scurries around behind the scenes trying to keep everything together, but it's not until the very end that he takes action.
Not to get all jargony on you (though we know how attractive our jargon face is), but yet another thing Dr. Seuss is all about is the political empowerment of children. He saw in kids an innate sense of justice and an eagerness to belong and to participate. If there were ever a time to take advantage of these kinds of gifts, post-World War II was it. Just check out this quote from the man himself from his essay, "Writing for Children: A Mission":
"In these days of tension and confusion, writers are beginning to realize that Books for Children have a greater potential for good, or evil, than any other form of literature on earth. They realize that the new generation must grow up more intelligent than ours." (Source.)
Bartholomew's actions toward the end of this story remind us very much of a good, intelligent child who's gained a whole lot of political empowerment. We're just sayin'.