Today, on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, it seems right and fitting to celebrate one of his most beloved children’s books, Green Eggs and Ham. While textual and pictorial absurdity are part of what made Green Eggs and Ham, along with Seuss’s other works, stand out in a market dominated by titles like Dick and Jane, this silly classic also has a great deal to say about life.
Green Eggs and Ham is all about trying new things, when those new things seem strange or unappealing. Sam-I-Am takes an unnamed character in a hat on a wild adventure, asking him at each stop whether he would prefer green eggs and ham in another setting–on a boat, with a goat, in the rain, on a train, in a box with a fox, in a house with a mouse, etc. Exhausted from their travels and Sam-I-Am’s constant pestering, the hero succumbs and tries the green eggs and ham, only to find that he actually likes the dish.
Dr. Seuss argues his point by reducing the fear of trying new things to absurdity, showing what zany trials the creature in the hat will go through to avoid tasting the green eggs and ham. Ultimately, Seuss shows, in colorful terms, that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Once we overcome our fears–of foods, people, activities–we open ourselves to new and enjoyable experiences that can bring a splash of zest to the monotony of daily life.
Have you had a Green Eggs and Ham moment?