Horton Hears a Who!
by Dr. Seuss
Horton Hears a Who! Setting
Where It All Goes Down
The Jungle of Nool
Ever want to go on a jungle safari? Now's your chance. The Jungle of Nool seems pretty stinkin' nice:
In the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool,
He was splashing… enjoying the jungle's great joys… (3-4)
The Jungle of Nool is a safe, normal jungle. It's beautiful and filled with lush scenery. Most important, though, it is all that the jungle animals know. They've grown up here and this is the reality that they see. So when they hear about Who-ville—which is definitely not a jungle—they feel like they have to destroy it. We're definitely getting some Cold War vibes, here.
The use of a very natural setting makes it an even more interesting contrast to the Whos, who live in a place with lots of technology and doo-dads that aren't around in jungle land. You may not be able to see it with the naked eye, but it's pretty stinkin' advanced:
"You've saved all our houses, our ceilings and floors.
You've saved all our churches and grocery stores." (61-62)
When the Mayor of Who-ville describes the town to Horton, he's amazed that all those things and buildings and people could fit into that little speck. But though the town is quite magically advanced, it's still remarkably fragile. For example, when the bird drops the clover into the field, the Mayor laments:
"We landed so hard that our clocks have all stopped." (118)
Who-ville is the Whos' home, even though the jungle animals don't think so. Sounds a lot like what went down in World War II: the Americans didn't really stop to think about how they were pulling Japanese-Americans out of their homes when they put them into camps. Social commentary, much?