Cite This Page
 
To Go
The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat
by Dr. Seuss

Thing One and Thing Two

Character Analysis

Isn't there a little Thing One and Thing Two inside us all? These crazy guys represent all that restless energy we have to suppress so we don't get in trouble. They are pure mayhem with no sense of boundaries, law, or consequences. They clean no messes and respect no authority.

Prison-in-a-Box

You can imagine how bummed these guys must be every time they are captured and returned to the big, red FUN-IN-A-BOX.

Are the Things crazy on the outside only because of how trapped they are on the inside? If so, we can probably read a bit more into that—if you suppress a society, it will only lead to total mayhem once the suppression inevitably ends.

Red Menaces

These blue-haired every-teacher's-nightmares are all decked out in red. In the 1950s, red = Communism.

To majorly oversimplify, one basic tenet of Communism is that all members of a community collectively own the resources in that community. McCarthyists believed this system would destroy individualism and competition, creating a society of lazies who all looked and acted the same.

Hmmm, things that look and act the same? Or should we say Things that look and act the same? Sounds familiar. The Things (who, by the way, Louis Menard calls "personified genitalia"... yikes) seem to both embody and challenge the McCarthy stereotype by injecting it with anarchism.

How?

Well, the Things are identical for all practical purposes and their aims and goals are clearly the same—to wreck stuff. But they are far from lazy and are in fact super-competitive. Once again, Seuss is drawing on a range of political ideas floating about in his time. It's never just a Thing with this Doctor.

One Last Question

Are they real?

Seriously. What if Sally and her bro made the whole thing up? What if the Things are alter-egos of the two kids, who actually flew kites in the house all by themselves?

Whether or not he intended it, Seuss would totally approve of this reading. Imagination is never a bad thing in Seussville.

Next Page: The Mother
Previous Page: The Fish

Need help with College?