Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr. Seuss
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
If you've been getting your Seuss on lately, you've probably noticed that the good Doc loves him some prosthetic hands. (Think the Super-Axe-Hacker in The Lorax or the clean-up machine in The Cat in the Hat.) Green Eggs and Ham is no exception.
The Hand That Rocks the Ham
The endpapers of Green Eggs and Ham feature a smiling Sam holding a platter of green eggs and ham high in the air. Since his arms aren't very long, he needs a prosthetic hand on a stick to help him out. Naturally. This hand on a stick is white, just like a waiter's. You don't have to tip him though. Just make sure you finish all your food.
A Ham in the Hand…
The second prosthetic hand is also holding a platter of green eggs and ham. Fancy that. This time, it's attached to the end of the fishing pole-like contraption that Sam reels out in order to shove the weird food in the big guy's face for the first time.
Here, the glove is red, suggesting boldness, action, and challenge. Sam isn't just giving him a hand (pun intended) with the whole eating thing; he's also challenging him to break out of his dull, boring, solitary existence.
You Can't Hand-le the Ham
Finally, Sam brings out the big hands. On the long sticks. He holds one hand-on-a-stick in each of his paws, and he balances the platter of ham and eggs on his head. This time, the hands look an awful lot like boxing gloves, and Sam uses them to pound the floor while he asks the big guy, "Would you like them/ here or there?" (14,15).
Things are getting serious here, folks.
Our reading of the hands? You never know when someone will need a hand. And Sam would tell you to reach out and help them. Just like he does for the big guy.