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The Sneetches

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by

James Lester

on 4 February 2013

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Transcript of The Sneetches

The Sneetches Historical Context The Sneetches was published in 1961. The year of publication of The Sneetches is significant because it was published during the zenith of the civil rights movement. This was a pivotal time period in the United States’ history for racial equality, which would have made the publication of The Sneetches very controversial. The Sneetches was also used as an allegory to Hitler’s regime. During World War Two Seuss was a major influence in American propaganda, in the form of political cartoons. His propaganda encouraged many Americans to buy war bonds. By: Dr Seuss Textual support:

Racism: “But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches Would brag, ‘We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.’”

“When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball,
Could a Plain Belly get in the game? Not at all.
You only could play if your bellies had stars”

“When the Star Belly Sneetches had frankfurter roasts
Or picnics or parties or marshmallow toasts,
They never invited the Plain-Belly Sneetches
They left them out cold, in the dark of the beaches.
They kept them away. Never let them come near.” Modern Context
-Cliques in schools today are much the same as the Sneetches that Dr. Seuss created. If a clique such as the ‘jocks’ are playing hacky sack and a ‘skater’ walked up and wanted to play, it is likely that he would not be permitted to join based on the fact that he dresses differently and does not share similar interests in extracurricular activities. Exactly like “When the Star Belly children went out to play ball, could a Plain Belly get in the game…? Not at all” because they didn’t look the same, they did not have a star.

-Today same sex marriages are hot button issues because they are not recognized as legal marriages and as such; do not receive the same benefits as a married couple does. Biblical marriages are between a man and woman and once the marriage is official they receive many legal and financial benefits. Why shouldn’t same sex marriages be permitted the same benefits? It’s like the Sneetches walking “with their snoots in the air” because they are “the best kind of Sneetches” based solely on their appearance.

-After 9/11 anyone resembling an Arab was discriminated against based simply on how they dressed. This is very much like the how the Star Belly Sneetches discriminated against the Plain Belly Sneetches. They would “have nothing to do with the Plain Belly sort” even though their personalities or interests may have been quite compatible, because their appearances were different, they would not associate with them. Elements of Satire Responds to an Event Dr. Seuss wrote The Sneetches as a response to Hitler's persecution of the jews. Dr. Seuss was strongly against anti-semitism, which how the star-belly Sneetches and the plain-belly Sneetches came to be. Depends on Demonstration of Artistic Techniques Rhyme Scheme:
"Now, the Star-Bell Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all." Diction: Used unusual words that are fun to say and create a lighthearted mood.
“Frankfurter roasts”
“Star-Belly Sneetches"
“And it klonked. And it bonked. And it jerked. And it berked”
“With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort” Allegory / Symbolism: The stars the sneetches had were used to symbolize the Star of David that the Jews were required to were during Nazi Germany.

-“Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.” Tone: Dr. Suess created a tone of lighthearted cheerfulness through his use of diction and rhyme.

- “ Then ONE day, it seems while the Plain-Belly Sneetches
Were moping and doping alone on the beaches,
Just sitting there wishing their bellies had stars,
A stranger zipped up in the strangest of cars!” Applies Persuasive Rhetoric When McBean offers to give/take their stars he says “…And my work is 100% guaranteed…” (9). He uses persuasion to not only take their money and make them confusedb but also teach them a lesson even though he claims “…You can never teach a Sneetches…”(23). He in a way does. He teaches them “… That Sneetches are Sneetches and no kind of Sneetch is the best on the Beaches…” (24). Fixes Problem The ‘Problem’ that needs to be fixed is the fact that the plain bellied sneetches didn’t have any stars like the star bellies did, so the Star bellies trashed them bad.. “When the Star Bellied Sneetches had Frankfurter roasts or picnics or parties or Marshmallow toasts, they never invited the plain bellied Sneetches” (7). So, a man by the name of Sylvester Mcmonkey McBean comes along and says “…I’ve heard of your troubles. I’ve seen your unhappy. I can Fix that….” (9) The Sneetches thus think there’s a problem, yet there wasn’t really a problem until McBean came along and told there he could fix the “problem”. Must Attack Follies Assumes a Norm Utilizes Wit Enables Audience to Feel Superior -"'Things are not quite as bad as you think'"

"'They never will learn. No. You can't Teach a Sneetch'" Must Offer Humor Questions? “The Sneetches” rhetorically attacks the everyday racist, the business mogul, and the “higher” race. Seuss introduces the Plain-Bellied Sneetches as the minority and the Star-Bellied Sneetches as the dominant race. Their stars “weren’t so big [but were] really too small you might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all” (3). Seuss purposely attacks the world in general, stating that just a small difference of a group make people automatically that they are superior to them. Along comes the business manufacturer, Sylvester McMonkey McBean, who uses conformity as a chance to make money. Such exaggerations can make one immediately think of the popularity of plastic surgery or the act of scamming vulnerable customers in today’s society. “The Sneetches” was written with the issues of conformity and any form of racism in mind. Seuss did not hold back in adding symbols and characters that illustrated such problems that are found in society today. The Star-Bellied Sneetches believed they were the best Sneetches because of their additional star in their appearance. The con man, McBean, is the resemblance of the average business authority who takes advantage of the popular ideas of looking the same as everyone else. He asks the Sneetches to “pay [him their] money” (11), because he knows “they will never learn” (22) that they are all the same no matter what their appearance. The Audience feels superior when we realize why Sylvester McMonkey McBean is actually there. He is there to finagle the Sneetches out of their money. We figure this out after he helps the plain bellied Sneetches and then goes straight to the star bellied Sneetches to create yet again a hierarchy of Sneetches based solely on the presence of a star on their bellies. The audience would also believe themselves above the characters in the story because they would not care about something as trivial as a star on their belly. In reality the racism present in the 1960's attests for Dr. Seuss's beautifully constructed allegory. Wit is a subtle use of words. Dr. Seuss is great at doing this. A major way he does this is by calling Sylvester the "Fix-it-up Chappie" He fixes everything he thinks needs to be fixed, but he is not a chappie. Chappie normally entails a friend, but he is not a friend to our poor little Sneetches. “But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches Would brag, ‘We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.’”

“When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball,
Could a Plain Belly get in the game? Not at all.
You only could play if your bellies had stars” -It is obvious to the reader that there is really no true difference between a Plain Belly Sneetch and a Star Bellied Sneetch, so when Sylvester comes along and makes such a profit adding and removing the stars it is quite ironic and humorous.

-When Sylvester McMonkey McBean comes along and announces that he is the “Fix-it-up Chappie” and gives the Plain Belly Sneetches stars so they can fit in, the original Star Belly Sneetches turn right around and have their stars removed. They then proclaim that “The best kind of Sneetches are Sneetches without” which is yet another comical testament to how there is truly no difference between the Sneetches.
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