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Dr. Suess goes to war

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Tyler McCorvy

on 11 December 2014

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Transcript of Dr. Suess goes to war

Dr. Suess illustrated many political cartoons in the 40s in which he expressed his disgust with the current state of the US mindset around the topic of racism. At this time racist prejudice was a common theme in all aspects of life including hiring, and social interactions. In the following political cartoons by Dr. Suess his opinions of racial prejudice are explained through exaggerated and/or comedic illustrations in an attempt to persuade.
This cartoon illusrated by Dr. Suess in 1942 points out the fact that United States war industries were not equalizing the oppurtunity for jobs to the African-Americans. Suess implies that the best method and also the most efficient method would be to use both races in order to achieve "harmony". Suess uses exaggeration and symbols in order to attempt to allow the average American to see how the industries should work.
Mental Insecticide
This cartoon, written in 1942, was created in a time of high racial prejudice against minorities in the US. This illustrated cartoon depicts the American public standing in line to get a "mental insecticide" from Uncle Sam in order to cleanse themselves of the racial prejudice bug. Dr. Suess uses rhetorical questioning and exaggeration to emphasize his message that the American Public needs to rid itself of the common racial prejudice and work together.
The Guy Who Makes a Mock of Democracy

This cartoon, "The Guy Who Makes a Mock of Democracy", was created by Dr. Seuss on July 30, 1942. This cartoon was constructed in the midst of World War II. During the war, there was a lot of racial prejudice going on in the U.S, particularly towards Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor in the previous year. This even led the Japanese Americans being put in internment camps in the U.S, which is depicted in this cartoon. The cartoon shows a figure that represents an American man, standing on a cellar door, keeping the Japanese Americans in. The purpose of this cartoon is to show the cruelty of Americans during this time. The message of this cartoon is to show that Americans at the time, although it says "with liberty and justice for ALL" in the pledge, were excluding certain groups from this right; in this case the Japanese Americans.

Event: U.S prejudice towards Japanese Americans, to the point of putting them in internment camps
Exaggeration: There are two forms of exaggeration. First, the guy representing the U.S prejudice is enlarged to represent the power of America, and how they sort of ran things. Also, there is an exaggeration in the way that the Japanese Americans were not actually locked in cellars. They are represented this way to show and emphasize how they were secluded and mistreated.
Symbols: The cellar represents the internment camps, and the man represents all prejudice American people
Labels: The man has a label that reads "U.S" racial prejudice, showing that he represents the american people as a whole, and not just an individual person
Irony: Irony is used in the final sentences of the pledge. It reads "liberty and justice for ALL", however, certain groups are left out, like the Japanese Americans
Purpose: The purpose of this cartoon is to show the mistreatment towards the Japanese by the Americans during this time.
Opinion: I think that the creator of this cartoon feels that the mistreatment of the Japanese Americans is cruel and should be stopped. I believe this because he depicts the American people with a sort of evil grin or smirk, and he depicts the Japanese in a cruel environment (cellar).

The Old Run Around
This Political cartoon published by Dr. Suess in 1942 illustrates the problems that Negro workers had finding employment in the war industries. At this point in time racial descrimination on hiring of African-Americans was a common issue with the war industries. Dr Suess employs the use of exaggeration and irony in order to show the american public that the war industries in the US were discriminating against certain groups and to inform them that it does more harm than good.
Dr. Suess goes to war
Event: General racial prejudice in the US
Exaggeration: Uncle Sam is a giant; insecticide enters one ear and blows a bug out the other
Symbols: Bug- Racial Prejudice; Uncle Sam- America/freedom
Labels: "Racial Prejudice Bug", "What this nation needs is a good mental insecticide"
Irony: People are appalled at the racist thoughts of their own minds
Purpose/Message: America needs to cleanse itself of the common racial prejudice
Opinion: Dr. Suess clearly empathizes with all groups being discriminated against because he can see the harm it does.
Event: The "Run Around" given to African-American workers looking for jobs in the US war industries
Exaggeration:There was never a literal maze, disproportional war industry size
Symbols: War industry, Maze (the run around)
Labels: Maze is labeled as, "Negro Job Hunters Enter Here"; "War Industry"
Irony: The sign reads, "Negro Job-Hunters Enter Here," signifying that the war industries want negro workers while the maze shows that it was all a front.
Purpose/Message: Tries to inform the American public on the wrongdoings of war industries to African-Americans and tries to help ove towards equality
Opinion: Dr. Suess has sympathy towards the African American workers and knows that their services could be useful in the US.

Event : Race equality in the war industry
Labels : War Industry, Uncle Sam (The Government,) Black Keys, (African American labor,) White keys, ( Caucasian labor,)
Exaggeration : The war industry man playin the organ with black and white keys, (labor.)
Audience and Purpose : The government trying to push the idea of African Americans fighting in the war among White people, to te American people.

Message : the government is fighting for equality for fighting in the war.

Piano of the War Industry
Full transcript