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Plot Analysis of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss PDF Print E-mail
Ed Eusebio Blog - This Writer's Work
Written by Ed Eusebio   

green_eggs_and_ham_plot_analysis-2I know this is what you writers have been waiting for! A brief plot analysis of Dr. Seuss's fabulous kids book Green Eggs and Ham.  I wrote it up for a writers group I belong to, for fun.  (Yes, this is one of those odd things I do for fun.)  A seemingly simple children's story, Seuss's book actually has perfect plotting and exposition. It illustrates (pun intended) a lot about what a good writer can do with limited space and words— write a book that lives on for generations!

Exposition

  • Setting:

Unnamed public areas in and around possibly Whoville.  This book is essentially a Road Story, taking place walking, in a car, train and boat. Note: Book first published in 1960 (during Civil Rights, Cold War, Vietnam conflicts). This book reflects the conservative establishment vs. liberal youth conflict at the time, as well as the Establishment / Hippie generation gap.

  • Protagonist:

seuss_protagonist-2Unnamed man, older, book reading, stuffed shirt (hereafter referred to as SS), tends to be angry, negative and alone.

  • Antagonist:

seuss_antagonistHyperactive, challenging, younger, exhibitionist Sam, tends to be happy and positive, enjoying the tacit support of characters around him, who good-naturedly go along with his schemes.

  • Conflict:

Stuffed Shirt (SS) sees Sam cavorting around in the “park” and states loudly that he doesn't like him. Sam counters by inquiring about SS's like for Green Eggs and Ham, which he presents to SS. Note that this green dish is likely a metaphor for Sam's strange liberal ideas, which seem so unnatural and wrong to the establishment figure SS.

seuss_conflict-1

Climax

seuss_climax-2SS is pushed to the edge (literally underwater, after their boat is destroyed and sinks after another confrontation). Surrounded by all that he has rejected, SS agrees to try Green Eggs and Ham, after Sam changes his tactic to “Try them.” SS finds that he likes them. Epiphany moment for SS.

Dénouement

SS goes on to declare that he will eat Green Eggs and Ham with all the previously rejected settings and characters.

Resolution

With his arm around Sam's shoulder, SS declares his like of Green Eggs and Ham than thanks Sam for his efforts. The empty plate in his hand, a symbol of his acceptance (consumption) of new, youthful and strange ideas.

seuss_resolution-1