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Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

by Dr. Seuss
 Table of Contents
Home Literature Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Summary Yertle the Turtle, Lines 30 – 39

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Yertle the Turtle, Lines 30 – 39 Summary

Turtle Backtalk

  • You know, there are a lot of difficulties when it comes to being a king. First you've got to remind yourself how amazing you are for hours on end without anybody's help. And then your throne starts giving you back talk. What a headache!
  • Mack, who we love from the moment he releases that "faint sigh," speaks up. He's all the way at the bottom of the turtle stack; he tells Yertle that he's not super comfortable, and Yertle is not psyched about it.
  • Sure, it might seem to us like the king is overreacting when he snaps at Mack for politely registering a complaint about his place in the world, but that, after all, is how revolutions begin.
  • Of course, it wouldn't have to be a revolution if Yertle could take a little constructive criticism, but that's beside the point. Mack's "Beg your pardon" (37) and assertion of pain is clear subversion.
  • Shmoop analysis alert. Take a moment to compare the title, "King Yertle" to "Mack." They sound a little different, right? While one is regal (and goofy), the other is a simple, one-syllable word—the name of a commoner. This should tell us that the society these turtles live in is just as stratified as their stack, with every turtle titled according to his rank. With names like King Yertle and Mack, nobody can forget their place.

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