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Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham

by Dr. Seuss
 Table of Contents

Green Eggs and Ham Writing Style

Q&A, Relentless, Repetitive, Rhymed

Green Eggs and Ham is 100% dialogue, consisting entirely of a question and answer session between the odd couple of the story. Sam does the asking (gist: how about some green eggs and ham?), and Sam's nameless acquaintance does the answering (gist: no).

But it's never a simple no. It's more like a

Not in a house. Not in a box.
Not with a mouse. Not with a fox.
I will not eat them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
(92-100)

There are 158 lines of this relentless Bugs Bunnian back-and-forth, as Sam and the big guy make their way across vast stretches of land, sky, and sea.

Say What? Say What?

Green Eggs and Ham is anything but boring, right? So can you believe that this classic story consists of only fifty different words, repeated over and over in various configurations? That's right. And we were impressed when he wrote The Cat in the Hat using only 236 words (source).

Moral of the story? Repetition isn't boring, as long as what's being repeated isn't boring in the first place.

We know you're dying for it, so here's the list. We blame CNN for the alphabetizing, but we checked the words ourselves. Just ask our labradoodle.

a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you

This practical, basic vocabulary was hand-picked by the Doc himself. And with the exception of "anywhere," we have a merry gang of monosyllables. Talk about being young/new/reluctant-reader friendly.

Rhyme and Meter, Ain't that Sweet(er)

Both of our colorful characters speak in rhyme. Fancy that.

(Sam)
Would you eat them
in a box?
Would you eat them
with a fox?
(38-41)

This is classic trochaic tetrameter (a.k.a. nursery rhyme rhyme). Forget the detailed stuff; just remember, this is an easy meter for kids to follow and memorize, and provides a simple frame for Dr. Seuss to wrap around some rather complicated ideas.

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