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Writing Style of Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

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Author Theodor Seuss Geisel created a writing style that has metamorphosed into its own separate category of unique vivacity coupled with a manipulation of everyday words and names to achieve rhymes or desired beats per line. The verse style found throughout most of Seuss’s work was the anapestic tetrameter (Fenkl, 2002). This style involved using words consisting of two short syllables followed by one long syllable or using words consisting of two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable. The verses were then compiled into groupings of four lines. Along with this metric method, Seuss also utilized italics, full capitalization, different colored words and different sized letters to steer the reader down the paths of his books.

Dr. Seuss’s contributions stemmed beyond the creation of colorful words to beneficiating the illiterate. In response to a published article in Life Magazine in May of 1954 concerning the illiteracy among school children, Dr. Seuss created a book using 220 words that were important to a young child’s vocabulary. “The Cat in the Hat” went on to instant success and its beloved character is now the trademark of all Dr. Seuss’s books (Bedno, 2002). However, Seuss’s trademark fuzzy animals and weird shapes began earlier when the Yuzz-a-ma-Tuzz animal was created for “On Beyond Zebra,” (Northern State University, 2002). Unsigned cartoons by Seuss would never be mistaken as his drawings were always filled with his trademark contraptions and creatures (Springfield Library et. al., 2002).

Although Seuss wrote many children’s books with the goal of creating enjoyable reading to stimulate literary growth, many of his whimsical stories contained serious themes. Perhaps Dr. Seuss’s biggest contribution was to introduce important concepts to his audience that spanned generations. Dr. Seuss admitted to having serious undertones in several of his fanciful children stories. His most obvious literary work that encompassed a serious genre was, “The Lorax,” with its strong environmental message (Springfield Library et. al., 2002). Other literature pieces including, “Yertle the Turtle,” a cautionary tale against dictators and, “The Sneetches,” which was used as a plea for racial tolerance, taught values and gave messages of how societies could lead more peaceful existences. Dr. Seuss’s style of writing captured his young audience’s attention and drew them into storylines that would help them develop their better well-being (Springfield Library et. al., 2002).

Dr.Seuss artfully taught a generation of youngsters the story of the Cold War through “The Butter Battle Book,” one of the last famous stories he wrote. The symbolic story told of two opposing archrivals the Yooks (Americans) and the Zooks (Soviets) that declared war over frivolous means and accelerated into a near-nuclear disaster state. As the cold war had not ended when the story was published in 1984, Dr. Seuss ended the story with a cliffhanger with the grandson asking, “who will drop it (the bomb), will you or will he?” with the narrator answering, “we shall see,” (Springfield Library et. al., 2002).

Dr. Seuss liked to explain his point of view in his writing. Another example stemmed from Seuss’s, “Horton Hears a Who,” about the American-occupied Japan after World War Two. As opposed to “The Butter Battle Book,” this storyline was fictitious and represented the wish that Seuss had that the United States (Horton) would offer assistance to the shattered people of Japan (Springfield Library et. al., 2002).

The ingenious style of Dr. Seuss captivated his audience through his outlandish language, creative fuzz characters and song-line anapestic tetrameter. He brought interesting and insightful books to a generation of illiterate children and taught valuable lessons about values and the history of our country.


Bedno, David, A Brief, Rough Biography of Dr. Seuss. Retrieved March 19, 2002, from The Center For Seussian Studies, http://www.seuss.org/seuss/seuss.bio.html

Fenkl, Heinz Insu, The Alchemy of Dr. Seuss. Retrieved March 20, 2002, from Endicott Studio, http://www.endicott-studio.com/forseus.html

Northern State University, Dr. Seuss. Retrieved March 19, 2002, from English 240, http://www.northern.edu/hastingw/seuss.htm

Springfield Library and Museums Association. The Political Dr. Seuss. Retrieved March 20, 2002 from the Springfield Library and Museums Association, http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/1aa/1aa291.htm

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