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 > >a book review by Josh LeBeau
 > >
 > >The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss, 61 pages. Beginner Books, $3.95 
 > >
 > >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 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' 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 thre reader 
 > >to 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 there 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 introdces 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 conterpart to his bold symbolism. In all, his 
 > >style is quick and fluid, making The Cat in the Hat impossible to put 
 > >down. While the 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 master becomes apparent.
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