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Horton Hatches the Egg

Horton Hatches the Egg


by Dr. Seuss

Horton Hatches the Egg Meaning

What is this book really about?

Dr. Seuss, Political Cartoonist

Seuss was anything but enigmatic when it came to his feelings about World War II. He was a staunch interventionist, meaning that he thought the U.S. should and must intervene in the conflicts in Europe and the Pacific. He was brutal on isolationists, the people who believed the U.S. should mind its own business and not meddle in those affairs. His publisher quotes the great Doctor:

"While Paris was being occupied by the klanking tanks of the Nazis [in 1940] and I was listening on my radio, I found I could no longer keep my mind on drawing pictures of Horton the Elephant. I found myself drawing pictures of Lindbergh the Ostrich." (Source.)

Charles Lindbergh (most famous because of the high-profile kidnapping of his infant son) was drawing fire for his isolationist stance, which he reversed after Pearl Harbor. The ostrich/isolationist metaphor is pretty easy to understand, since ostriches are symbols of cowardice. Turns out these guys don't really bury their heads in the sand, but instead play dead when they perceive a threat (source).

Seuss certainly didn't stop with Lindbergh the Ostrich. Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini were Seuss material, too. Not to mention the Japanese and Japanese-Americans who got the full racist Seuss treatment (check 'em out for yourself).

As if he weren't distracted enough, Seuss then joined the army when the U.S. entered the war. He was a major in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and made training, recruitment and other propaganda films (source). With all this other important stuff going on, he didn't publish another children's book (McElligot's Pool) until 1947.

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