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Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories


by Dr. Seuss

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Dissatisfaction Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"I'm ruler,' said Yertle, 'of all that I see,
But I don't see enough. That's the trouble with me."
With this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond
But I cannot look down on the places beyond…"
"If I could sit high, how much greater I'd be!
What a king! I'd be ruler of all I could see!" (Yertle.9-12, 15-16)

It's clear to all of us non-megalomaniacs that Yertle already has enough power. But is he satisfied with that? Of course not. This is Yertle the Turtle we're talking about here. He's got to look down on the rest of the world just to feel good about himself. His appetite for greatness and control is growling. More power, please! (What? What! What?)

Quote #2

"I'm king of a house! And a bush! And a cat!
But that isn't all. I'll do better than that!" (Yertle.43-44)

Oh boy, here we go. In one sentence, Yertle's all, "I'm so excited about everything we've got. I'm going to imply here that I am satisfied." And in the next sentence he's all, "NOT SATISFIED. NOT SATISFIED AT ALL!" It'd be easy to confuse this with ambition, if it weren't so fickle and self-destructive. All it tells us is that the moment Yertle gets what he wants, he's going to want something else. What a dissatisfied little reptile.

Quote #3

There once was a girl-bird named Gertrude McFuzz
And she had the smallest plain tail ever was.
One droopy-droop feather. That's all that she had.
And, oh! That one feather made Gertrude so sad. (McFuzz.1-4)

Here's the thing with characters that can't get no satisfaction: nothing satisfies them, not even the thing they thought would satisfy them. Just like Yertle always needs one more turtle than he has, Gertrude isn't satisfied until she gets just one more berry and one more tail, and when she's got that, just one more until there's nothing left at all.

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