© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories


by Dr. Seuss

Home Dr Seuss Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Summary Yertle the Turtle, Lines 17 – 24

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Yertle the Turtle, Lines 17 – 24 Summary

Turtle Tower

  • From the very opening lines of this paragraph, we see Seuss reminding everyone of Yertle's authority. He's not just Yertle, he's Yertle, the Turtle King, and don't you forget it. This dude can hijack the lives of nine turtles with the lift of a hand and words like, "command" and "ordered."
  • Basically, Yertle decides that he wants a higher throne, so he takes a bunch of other turtles and stacks them up. Mission: accomplished.
  • Don't miss the use of active verbs here, too: He made each turtle stand on another's back/ He piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack./And then Yertle climbed up" (21 -23).
  • Since Yertle gives himself no agency, Seuss gives it to him through his grammar, which is pretty much the best revenge an English nerd can get.
  • We also think it's just a great touch to have the turtles literally (literally, in the literal sense of the word, not in the way people use it these days) standing on each other's backs. Their bodies become their own punishment.
  • And of course, we've got to wonder: why are the turtles letting this guy boss them around? (Ahem, if your kid isn't wondering this, prompt them to.)
  • What thoughts are running through the mind of that turtle on the bottom?
  • "This is great, just great. I spend all day in the office bent over my desk and come down here for a little relaxation and then this happens. Does this jerk Yertle even care that I was diagnosed with a hernia last week? No. Plus it's tax season and we've never been busier. What am I going to tell Mrs. Lancaster in apartment eight when I can't get her returns in on time because I was stuck in a nine-turtle stack?"

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...