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Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories


by Dr. Seuss


Character Analysis

Lolla-Lee-Lou is that kind of character—the kind that's not so much a character so much as an unattainable ideal. That's why she only really appears once in the story, yet her name is mentioned five times after she's already flapped away. All she has to do is wag that beautiful, impossible to attain tail of hers and disappear off the side of the page. She's there to plant the seed of discontent, just like models in magazines who show us what we supposedly should be, if only we buy the product they're selling.

But Lolla-Lee-Lou isn't really bad herself. In fact, she'd probably be a very lovely bird, if only we could see her through anything more than Gertrude's jealous comparisons:

  • '"I MUST have a tail just like-Lolla-Lee Lou!"' (13).
  • '"I'll grow a tail better than Lolla-Lee-Lou!"' (37).
  • "Miss Lolla has only just two! I have three!" (41).
  • "The next thing to do / Is to fly right straight home and show Lolla-Lee-Lou!" (62-63).

See what we mean? Lolla-Lee-Lou never speaks for herself. We know only that something is supposedly wrong with her because Gertrude thinks so. But in the end, it's something inside Gertrude that's wrong. See, there are always going to be Lolla-Lee-Lous, no matter what we do. It's up to Gertrude to be strong enough to resist comparing herself.

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