BOOK If it actually HAPPENED in the story! BRAIN If it came from the mind of the writer! (drawing a conclusion, expressing an opinion, etc.)
Dr. Seuss wrote “The Lorax” not only to entertain children, but also to express a very important message about the environment. He cleverly uses the Once-ler, the Lorax, and the boy to teach young readers about the importance of taking care of the environment. Seuss uses the Once-ler to symbolize what he sees as the attitude of big business towards the environment and the damage that can be caused by that attitude. Upon his arrival in the Land of the Truffula Tree, the Once-ler immediately sees opportunity, begins cutting down the trees down for profit, and completely ignores the frequent protests of the Lorax. Seuss uses the Once-ler’s reactions to the Lorax to expose his own views on industry’s attitude toward the environment: “I the Once-ler felt sad/As I watched them all go,/ BUT…/ Business is business!/And Business must grow.” Like many big businesses today, the Once-er continues to chop the trees, failing to recognize the damage he is doing until, at last, he ironically destroys the one thing that made him rich. His business fails, and all that is left is a barren wasteland.
Suess uses the Lorax to symbolize Mother Nature’s response to our own abuse of the environment. He repeatedly warns Once-ler of the damage he is doing, just like Mother Nature warns us when we damage the environment. When the Lorax sends away each of the animals as the land of the Truffula Trees gets more and more damaged, it reminds the reader of how many of our own species are dwindling and even becoming extinct as we continue to ignore the damage we are doing to our own planet. Finally, when the land is completely barren and useless, the Lorax himself departs, leaving only a mysterious message in a pile of stones.
Seuss uses the boy to help the Once-ler figure out this puzzling message. The boy symbolizes hope for future generations, and the pile of stones presents a warning about the future state of the land. Through this boy, Seuss demonstrates his belief that today’s children truly are the solution to our own environmental issues. The boy listens to the Once-ler’s story, and then faces the challenge of repairing the land of the Truffula Trees when the Once-ler tosses him the last Truffula seed. When the Once-ler tosses the boy that seed of hope, Dr. Seuss’s message is just as clear to us as it was to the Once-ler: “Unless someone like you / Cares a whole awful lot, / Nothing is going to get better, / It’s not.” If future generations care enough, they will find that they can be instruments of positive change. Dr. Seuss leaves us no doubt that this is his hope. Otherwise, why would he send this message through characters that appeal directly to children and the children within us?