The Sneetches and Other Stories
by Dr. Seuss
The Sneetches and Other Stories Setting
Where It All Goes Down
The Beach, Prax Prairie, Mrs. McCave's House, and the Forest
We Are Not Lazy
Yeah, we're lumping all the settings together here. Lazy? We're not lazy. Okay, fine, we're lazy sometimes, but this decision has nothing to do with our tendency to lounge in the sun with fruffy umbrella drinks. We're lumping them all together because all the settings in The Sneetches and Other Stories basically serve the same purpose.
Let's take a closer look.
We have four settings, one for each story in the book: the beach ("The Sneetches"), Prax Prairie ("The Zax"), Mrs. McCave's House ("Too Many Daves"), and the forest ("What Was I Scared Of?"). In each of these settings, Dr. Seuss gives the absolute minimal amount of detail necessary to get the point across—both in the words and the pictures.
Just take a look at any random picture of Prax Prairie and the beach. The only difference between the two is that Prax Prairie has golden sand and the beach has white sand with an occasional glimpse of the ocean—no waves, even! Even the forest, which has the most detail by far, is still pretty simple. Come on, anybody could draw that (disclaimer: that's a lie).
Neither Is Dr. Seuss
So was Dr. Seuss being lazy, too? No. Well, maybe. But we have a better answer for you. Dr. Seuss wanted his settings to feel universal. He wanted his beaches and his forests to be any beach and any forest. He may have named Prax Prairie, but it's really just any ol' prairie. It's up to our imaginations to fill in the blanks of the pictures as well as the words.
But why? Because the universal setting gives the whole story a feeling of universality, of the anywhere and the everywhere. The Sneetches live on beaches. But if they lived in the forest, would that change the story? Not really. What if they lived in the West Side of Chicago? Then, yeah, it would change the story; it would sound like Dr. Seuss was just talking about the people of Chicago and not the rest of us.
When we fill in the story with our own imagined beach or forest, it allows us to connect more personally. And you know what? It probably makes us more likely to learn the lesson, too.