Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Twisted Lenten Drama of Green Eggs and Ham, Uncloaked

Above: Song of innocence or song of experience?

The Ironic Catholic has made a dramatic and horrifying discovery that must be shared, for the good of toddlerdom. If St. Ignatius could "see Christ all in all things," then a Catholic mom doing Lent (perhaps too well) can see Lent in Dr. Seuss. Brace yourself, and read:

The Twisted Lenten Drama of Green Eggs and Ham, Uncloaked

I am Sam
I am Sam
Sam I am

(The narrative opens with a direct reference to YHWH, "I am who am". Sam is symbolically connected to the Ultimate Good using three syllables per three lines, an indirect trinitarian reference. As Sam will be found to be the instigator of temptation, this triplet announces Sam as an anti-Christ figure, and sets up the dark nature of the book. Henceforth, he shall be referred to as Sam/Satan.)

That Sam-I-am!
That Sam-I-am!

I do not like
that Sam-I-am!

(The forthright denial by the adult with no name (hereafter "Nameless Soul") sounds clear, but the meaning remains muddled. Does he dislike YHWH? Or does he dislike the Father of lies? This statement provides an initial sketch of the troubled nature of this Nameless Soul caught in temptation, clearly, a kind of "Everyman".)

Do you like
green eggs and ham?

I do not like them,
I do not like
green eggs and ham.

(Why "green eggs and ham"? Clearly Sam/Satan attempts to offer the unnatural as the good. Nameless Soul, still in a state of grace, immediately states the obvious: who likes the unnatural? What sense does it make to like green eggs and ham? Here, Nameless Soul initially sides for the created order of the universe.)

Would you like them
here or there?

I would not like them
here or there.
I would not like them
I do not like
green eggs and ham.
I do not like them,

(Ah, the classic move of tempters everywhere: ignore the rejection and get the one tempted to consider situational ethics. Not so bad here, or in this situation, right? No account of the objective wrongness of the action itself. Although Nameless Soul refutes bravely, this is clearly a weak chink in his armor. And so the situations are offered like a jackhammer: in a car, in a box, on a fox, in a house, with a mouse.)

You may like them.
You will see.
You may like them
in a tree!

(You can practically hear the serpent hissing on this one. "No, no, eating the fruit will not KILL you. You will just be like God and know all things!" You MAY like them. You're just being obstinate. And the tree reference at this particular juncture--a clear referral to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil--is pointed.)

I would not, could not in a tree.
Not in a car! You let me be.

(A brave rebuttal, but the end is near. Call upon Christ, Nameless Soul! Stop trying to tangle with Satan on your own! You won't win!)

In the dark?
Here in the dark!
Would you, could you, in the dark?

I would not, could not,
in the dark.

(That "Say!"--like Satan/Sam just thought of this lovely idea, sinning through unnatural acts in the darkness that is the absence of God, would be a great, fun, festive party. Woohoo! ...And is Nameless Soul whimpering by now?)

Could you, would you,
with a goat?
(Beastiality. This is getting ugly.)

You do not like them.
So you say.
Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may, I say.

(Alas, the tempter has done all but pull out the brass knuckles: calling into question the Nameless Soul's beliefs--"so you say"--and shouting "try them" three times, like a repeating bazooka.)

If you will let me be,
I will try them.
You will see.


Nameless Soul, don't play the devil's own game and expect to win. Evil only fights and deceives: it doesn't know how to do anything else. If you succumb to temptation, Sam/Satan will only "see" you in the vice grip of cold, hard sin.)

I like green eggs and ham!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat.
And I would eat them with a goat...


And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good, so good, you see!

(...Good for the Kingdom of Darkness, dude.)

So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!

(As your guardian angel weeps silently.)

I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,

(The final degradation: he thanks Sam/Satan for introducing him to the unnatural "pleasures" of sin. Green Eggs and Ham is a tragic tale of trial and temptation to untruth.)

Readers, beware. Next: Hop on Pop, a text rife with veiled references to doing violence on God the Father.


Humor-Blogs.com is a tragic tale of trial and temptation all its own.


Not Strictly Spiritual said...

It's 5 p.m. I've had a crazy day, and this was exactly what I needed to read. Thank you! I will never see Dr. Seuss in the same light again. :)

lgd0708 said...

Another conspiracy unmasked!!

Catholic Audio said...

Lol. Even my wife liked this, and she doesn't like any of my super-Catholic-y "You've GOT to read this!" nonsense.

Well played, IC.

Theocoid said...

And Sam, of course, is short for Samuel (Shemu-el)... hey, I think you have something here!

Claire said...

This is awesome. I loved "Green Eggs and Ham" when I was a kid (still do) and this...well, this is just perfect.

(Also, I like the Lent-ified banner. Clever.)

reprehriestless warillever said...


I am posting a link over at my place so that some of my preschool mom friends can check it out.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Thanks all! This was fun to write.

Allen said...

I used "Green Eggs & Ham" in a sermon once, as an illustration of witnessing, with the text, "Taste and see that the Lord is good!"

It's probably time to do another "sermon by St Geisel."

Brittany said...

Funny thing happened at ye olde convent refectory yesterday.... we were discussing the weirdness of Dr Seuss' books as children... and then today I run across your post... and forwarded it to everyone in formation. Good times. I always knew the books was a subtle (perhaps not so subtle) form of brainwashing.
For the record, we throw out any green eggs and ham in the convent... if we can get Sr V, to let us "detach" from the penicillin.

JimmyV said...

Absolutely hilarious!

What infernal temptations may be hidden in, "Oh, The Places You'll Go." Actually, that one creeps me out with any religious implications.

angelmeg said...

Too Funny, I always thought Dr Seus was situational ethically challenged (The Lorax).

Paul Cat said...

too funny!

Rufus McCain said...

Alternative reading: Sam I Am is the God of the new covenant. The nameless fellow is Israel/Mankind, being invited (and pursued Hound-of-Heaven-like) to shed the old man and the old law and embrace the new freedom in Christ. Cf. Peter's vision in Acts.

Panda Rosa said...

Very interesting spin on this. Question: If Sam is an agent of the Devil, why's he trying to get the other guy to eat something that looks disgusting? Does sacrifice count if you don't really like whatever it is you're giving up anyway?

Panda Rosa said...

For a further spin on Sam-I-Am and strange choice of foodstuffs, check out Rev Jesse Jackson's reading of Green Eggs and Ham. You will never think of either the same way again...

Anonymous said...

I think you missed it with the goat...remember that too is a symbol of the devil!

Wendy said...

Ok... so i'm a late reader! I love your take on this classic. Very nice!

A different spin could be that Sam-I-am is a great example of the persistance that we Christians should show in spreading the Message.

Steve said...

who here does not see irony in that Dr Seus was a Jew, and that Green Eggs & Ham was another betrayal of Jesus?

yes, the Seuss books are by a Judas who paid the government for his PhD.