Volume 3, Number 11, Page 5

Reflections on The Cat In The Hat

A book review/technology update/OUMMCBNOM venture into the risque.

Welcome to a feature for which we neither can nor want to take full credit.

This charming piece was found for the OUMMCBNOM by our special correspondent/free 
lance writer, to whom it was sent over that wonderful thing we call e-mail.  Although we 
do not know exactly who deserves the aforementioned credit for this, their name may be 
"Hyeon-Ju Rho."  If this is not correct, we sincerely apologize to both Hyeon-Ju and the 
true writer.

	The Cat in the Hat is a hard-hitting novel of prose and poetry in which the author 
re-examines the dynamic rhyming schemes and bold imagery of some of his earlier works, 
most notably Green Eggs and Ham, If I Ran the Zoo, and Why Can't I Shower With Mommy?  
In this novel, Theodore Geisel, writing under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, pays homage to the 
great Dr. Sigmund Freud in a nightmarish fantasy of a renegade feline helping two young 
children understand their own frustrated sexuality.
	The story opens with two youngsters, a brother and a sister, abandoned by their 
mother, staring mournfully through the window of their single-family dwelling.  In the 
foreground, a large tree/phallic symbol dances wildly in the wind, taunting the children 
and encouraging them to succumb to the sexual yearnings they undoubtedly feel for each 
other.  Even to the most unlearned reader, the blatant references to the incestuous 
relationship the two share set the tone for Seuss's probing examination of the satisfaction
of primitive needs.  The Cat proceeds to charm the wary youths into engaging in what he so 
innocently refers to as "tricks."  At this point, the fish, an obvious Christ figure who 
represents the prevailing Christian morality, attempts to warn the children, and thus, 
in effect, warns all of humanity of the dangers associated with the unleashing of the 
primal urges.  In response to this, the cat proceeds to balance the aquatic naysayer on 
the end of his umbrella, essentially saying, "Down with morality; down with God!"  After 
poohpoohing the righteous rantings of the waterlogged Christ figure, the Cat begins to 
juggle several icons of Western culture, most notably two books, representing the Old and 
New Testaments, and a saucer of lactal fluid, an ironic reference to maternal loss the two 
children experienced when their mother abandoned them "for the afternoon."  Our heroic Id 
adds to this bold gesture a rake and a toy man, and thus completes the Oedipal triangle.
	Later in the novel, Seuss introduces the proverbial Pandora's box, a large red 
crate out of which the Id releases Thing One, or Freud's concept of Ego, the division of 
the psyche that serves as the conscious mediator between the person and reality, and Thing 
Two, the Superego which functions to reward and punish through a system of moral attitudes, 
conscience, and guilt.  Referring to this box, the Cat says, "Now look at this trick.  
Take a look!"  In this, Dr. Seuss uses the children as a brilliant metaphor for the reader,
and asks the reader to re-examine his own inner self.
	The children, unable to control the Id, Ego, and Superego allow these creatures to 
run free and mess up the house, or more symbolically, control their lives.  This rampage 
continues until the fish, or Christ symbol, warns that the mother is returning to reinstate
the Oedipal triangle that existed before her abandonment of the children.  At this point, 
Seuss introduces a many-armed cleaning device which represents the psychoanalytic couch, 
which proceeds to put the two youngsters' lives back in order.
	With powerful simplicity, clarity, and drama, Seuss reduces Freud's concepts on the
dynamics of the human psyche to an easily understood gesture.  Mr. Seuss' poetry and choice
of words is equally impressive and serves as a splendid counterpart to his bold symbolism.  In all, his writing style is quick and fluid, making The Cat in the Hat impossible to put down.  While this novel is 61 pages in length, and one can read it in five minutes or less, it is not until after multiple readings that the genius of this modern day master becomes apparent.

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