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Author

Casey Schmidt

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Julietta Singh

Abstract

“I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.” With this quote, Dr. Seuss’s character the Lorax establishes himself as the spokesperson for nature and presents the main conflict of the iconic picture book: ecocentrism versus capitalism. Published in 1971 at the height of the modern North American environmental movement, contemporary readers could recognize this dichotomy mirrored in their own society. In the wake of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), environmental stewardship had become increasingly politicized, bifurcating into pro-environmentalists and pro-capitalist, assuming that the value of one excluded the other, and producing a cache of literature both scientifically and politically charged. Though nature has been a theme in children’s literature since its inception, Seuss’s The Lorax was the first book to bring the problem of environmental protection to that audience in an overtly political way.

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