The character Ned may seem like nothing but a bummer, but he has his part to play, too. Every good book needs a good grump.
He's disgruntled by his little bed and just can't bring himself to move on and enjoy the rest of his day. When he appears in the book—which happens three times—he is always down in the dumps. Frankly, we want to shake him by the shoulders and say, dude, if you hate your bed so much, why don't you get out of it and get out the door?
But in the end, we're more than a little grateful for Ned's negativity, because it drives home the book's central message: being exposed to new ideas, creatures, and thingamabobs in general is good for you. Ned's closed-mindedness is what keeps him from being able to enjoy and experience his life. And we really don't want to be as miserable as Ned. So we'd better open our minds.
So if you're going to take the book's advice, you have to embrace life, and all the diversity that comes with it. After all, how does the epigraph go again?
Oh me! Oh my!
Oh me! Oh my!
What a lot
of funny things go by. (35-38)
Do those silly kids seem at all fazed by the parade of weird creatures (with even weirder habits) that dance by them? Do they think that having eleven fingers is just too bizarre? Is being too tall or too short something that they even consider? In other words, do they get all judgey when faced with folks who are, dare we say, different? No way.
These kids and the book itself are accepting of creatures in all shapes, sizes and with different interests, too. Whether you like to box or read cookbooks (even if you're not actually literate), it's all fair game. That's the beauty of living in a strange and ever-changing world—the beauty of living in Seuss's world.