Cedar Rapids, IA
Dear Mr. Seuss,
I'm a sixteen year-old girl, and one comfortable in saying that I don't know what I want to do with my future. I know that I'd like be involved with science and maybe education and I want to do things that make me happy. I know that I love nature and that I'd like to make other peoples' lives better. Is it too much to ask that I make a profound impact on the world someday? Knowing these things about me, I think you'll see why I have always been drawn to one of your children's books in particular - The Lorax. It wouldn't be true to say that The Lorax caused some sort of 'eureka' moment in my life, or provoked a major moral upheaval. I simply grew up with this book, and in ways however subtle, it has worked to shape the way I think about many things.
First of all, I have always been charmed by the Dr.'s whimsy rhymes and ever-expanding vocabulary. Why not, why not just make up a new word when a made-up situation arises? I completely respect that no other word than snergelly could accurately describe the strange hose that the Onceler must communicate through. And what must such a device sound like when being deployed upon a wary tale-heeder? It wouldn't thump, slide, zoom, or even slither. One must conclude that SLUPP is the only verb worthy to portray the noise. Words like these, sir, are stimulators of the imagination! Disregarding any meaningful significance, the language of The Lorax has value in and of itself to exhilarate the mind and encourage quirkiness, which is surely a fine-something-that-all-people-need.
The Lorax has been read to me as taps (a bedtime story) almost every summer of my life at a camp I've gone to since I was six, where words that told of Grickle-Grass and Truffula Trees first reached my tiny ears. The book (along with my parents and elders, of course) ultimately imbedded morals within my little kid mind that permeate my thinking to this day. Appreciate nature; don't be greedy; take responsibility for your actions; money isn't everything. These are simple little aphorisms of which all children should be convinced before they outgrow cooties. Beyond these, your suggestions to the citizens of this world are more subtle and complex. It seems to me that you, Mr. Seuss, understand 'the way things work' better than many politicians and businessmen today. You'll make environmentalists out of us yet. A basic concept: if one produces something outside of nature, waste is created. If one doesn't control exactly where that waste is ending up, it is becoming pollution. If one is polluting the earth, something is dying. If something is dying, everything that comes into contact with it is affected. This is of course a highly simplified version of an ecological truth which must be understood, but then, it seems to me that our world boasts more than enough technology and knowledge to iron out the details. Act respectfully and intelligently towards the earth, and it will reciprocate by flourishing. If a shortish, oldish, brownish and mossy little guy called the Lorax understands this, why can't modern society?
Do you know that I find some new truth in this tale every time I re-read it? As I skimmed it just five minutes ago, one part in particular took me back a couple months to something my Environmental Science teacher had said during one of his tangents in class; "Grow, grow, grow; more, more, more... that's cancer, you know??". Translation: (and you said it best) the population of the world, commercialism, and human consumption can't just keep Biggering and BIGGERING and BIGGERING!! -without imminent negative consequences. Just as the Onceler was left abruptly alone and unhappy with the smack of the last Truffula tree, humankind will find itself in a desolate situation if nothing is done to protect our God-given resources.
So maybe someday I'll speak for the trees, with their lack of tongues. But your impact on my life goes beyond trees! Maybe I'll speak for something else, tongues or no - something or someone that is valuable but underappreciated, endangered, misunderstood, or repressed. You have always taught a part of me to be my own person, to be firm in my beliefs. That means I am empowered to search out who needs speaking for, and to be the one for the job! Unless someone like me cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better - it's not. I know this to be true, no matter what the circumstances, and if I want anything in life to get better at all, it is my responsibility just to care. Wish me luck.