Welcome back to Grant’s book club. Yesterday, in my reading diary, I told how I had just finished my second book. I know I was going to write about Rafe Esquith, but today I will be blogging about “Green, eggs and ham” by Dr Seuss. I told you yesterday that Green Eggs and Ham was about how Sam learns to like stuff. I also explained that it could be read as a self-referential text. What do I mean by that? Well, it can be read as a book about reading. It can be read as a book about what its like to learn to like to read.
So let’s analyse this whimsical little book. What happens in Green Eggs and Ham. On page 3, the reader is introduced to a nameless creature, who doffs his little red cap, as he is carried along by a different creature. He holds a sign that reads “I am Sam”. On page 4, we see another creature wearing a black hat. He looks forlorn while he holds a book called “ABCDEFG…” The only other language on this page reads “I am Sam”, and only the back half of the other creature is visible. These two creatures can be read symbolically as the two readers that exist within any novice at the art of reading.: the struggling reader and the creative reader who is carried away by whimsy and imagination. Page 6 and 7 gives the reader their first sight of the two creatures together. Old Black Hat still looks morose but his book now reads “WAR….” Little Red Hat, now holds a sign that proclaims in bold red letters, “Sam I am.” Most of the rest of the book will be taken up by the struggle between the two. Next, Old Black Hat declares, “I do not like that Sam-I-am” after his reading has been disturbed. On page 10 and 11, Sam-I-am reappears and asks a seemingly ridiculous question, “Do you like green eggs and ham.” But Old Black Hat is adamant. “I do not like them, Sam-I-am. I do not like green eggs and ham,” he says. At this point I would ask the reader a question: Where have you actually seen green eggs and ham? I suggest they exist largely in two places: in the imagination and in a Dr Seuss book. So, what are green eggs and ham? Taken literally, they are, well, eggs and ham that are green, but that doesn’t make much sense if they don’t have many real world counterparts. Figuratively, though, we might substitute the word, Books, or indeed anything else. So, let’s keep that in mind as we continue. “Where would you like your green eggs and ham?” Little Red Hat asks. But Old Black Hat does not want them here, there or anywhere, because he just does not like green eggs and ham. Little Red Hat persists with trying to find out under what conditions Black Hat would like them. “How about in a house or with a mouse?” Red Hat asks. But Black Hat just categorically does not like them. Little Red Hat asks a new question, “Where would you eat them?” But Old Black Hat would not eat them because he just does not like green eggs and ham. No matter what Red Hat asks Black hat will refuse. “Could you eat them in a car?” “NO.” “You may like them in a tree,” Red Hat suggests. “NO.” Old Black Hat just wants to be left alone. I mean, c’mon, this dark and gloomy creature won’t even like them in the dark or in the rain or in the middle of the deep blue sea! He could not, would not eat them in a boat, or with a goat, or in the rain or on a train nor in the dark nor in a tree or in a box or with a fox. He will not eat them because he does not like them, here, there or anywhere. He just does not like green eggs and ham. “But you might like them if you try them,” Little Red Hat suggests. So, finally, to be left alone Old Black Hat relents, and tries them. He decides that he lijes them They’re pretty good. Actually, he would eat them in the dark, in a car, in a tree, with a mouse, or in a house, or in a box, or with a fox; he would eat them anywhere because he likes them. In the end all he had to do was try them, and get a little taste for them. Just like books and reading. Some people would look at me a little strangely when I say the last book I read was Green Eggs and Ham, but why? I tried it and I liked it. I would read it ANYWHERE. But that’s me. I’ll read anything. But even as adults that little book has a lot to teach us. Sometimes we need to take off our black shoes and put on our red sneakers and try dancing in the rain a little with the child inside of us. We need to get carried away with infinite possibilities for our lives. So what’s your green eggs and ham? Is it music, or dance, or art, or maths, or science. What is it that you just do not like because you haven’t found it’s beauty yet? What is it that you just do not like because of struggles you had as a child, or even as an adult? For me, right now, it’s computers. But I’d also like to write my book or play an instrument. As I said, I think this book can be read as a book about reading, but it can also be read as a book about anything. So I think that’s pretty cool.
AMAZON also has a book with CD which is great for novice readers.