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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 Yertle the Turtle, Lines 40 – 47 Summary

Backfire

  • Well, King Yertle must have been reading our analysis from the last stanza, because here he does whatever he can to reassert his authority.
  • First, he shouts in all caps: '"SILENCE!"' (40).
  • Second, he blatantly tells Mack he's garbage, which is pretty rude if you ask us: '"I'm king, and you're a turtle named Mack'" (41). Oh, EXCUSE US FOR EXISTING.
  • Third, he tells Mack to, '"Stay in your place while I sit here and rule'" (42)… Geez, what fun for the rest of us, Yertle.
  • Fourth, he reiterates just what he's king of, as if we didn't just hear him say it a few pages back.
  • And, lastly, he acts like a petulant child, demanding more turtles, rather than the requested less.
  • This is classic narcissist (ahem, dictator) behavior. The slightest questioning, and he goes over the top in reaffirming his worldview.
  • Even the illustration does all it can to show us how out of control this guy is. We zoom in close so that Yertle (and his ego) look as big, dark and threatening as possible. The cloud in the background looks like an explosion, with active lines squiggling all around him.
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