The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
by Dr. Seuss
Cold War Allegory
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
First things first. Go check out our section on "Meaning" to see what the experts have to say about why the Cat might be more than just a Cat.
Done? Okay, good.
Now let's break it down a little more.
Those pesky, terrible, dreaded spots. It starts with just one—in the tub—but then things start to get out of control. Just when you think you've cleaned up a spot, another one pops up in its place. At one point, they even converge into one giant spot. That can't end well.
When we put our Cold War allegory hats on, the pink stains definitely smell of communism. For those of you who missed the entire second half of the 20th century, communist sympathizers were commonly known as Pinkos. So we're willing to bet that the spread of those pink stains symbolizes the spread of communism.
In fact, there's even a scene where the cats are shooting at the pink stains as if they were actual live enemies:
"My cats are all clever.
My cats are good shots.
My cats have good guns.
They will kill all those spots!" (201-204)
Doesn't seem like simple stain treatment to us—that's what stain stick is for. This is a stain that's a little more worrisome for everyone involved. Also known as the Red Scare.
Remind us again what color the Cat's hat is?
The Freak-Out Sesh
If the Cat and his stains are communists and communist sympathizers, then that makes the narrator and Sally any and all Americans who freaked out during the Red Scare. Simple as that. And according to the Cat (and maybe to Seuss?), they were freaking out over just about nothing.
And then—in comes the Voom. It kind of reminds us of the invention we created for the 6th grade invention convention: made to clean up the snowiest of snow.
But, boy! Let me tell you
It DOES clean up snow! (283-284)
If you read our section on "Meaning," you heard us say that the Voom is kind of a last ditch effort, right? And the experts agree: Mr. Menand writes, "The association with nuclear holocaust and its sterilizing fallout, wiping the planet clean of pinkness and pinkos, is impossible to ignore" (source). That is one nuclear Voom, that's for sure.
For those of you who thought Little Cat Z might represent hope—sorry to crush your dreams into tiny little pieces. But then again, maybe a Cat is sometimes just a Cat.