Child As a Site- Oh The Places You’ll Go

I chose “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss as a prime example where an adult uses a “children’s” text as a site to project their own desires. The book discusses a child’s future, yet, also notes how difficult life can be.

Here is an excerpt:

“Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t
Because, sometimes they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.”

The text tries to enact the desire to be able to go deal with the trials and tribulations of life, while holding onto happiness and becoming successful. However, the ideas of success and happiness are completely determined by the author, an adult. A child may not innately want to be famous, however, an adult is suggesting that will bring them happiness. Is the whole world watching you achieve something on television to mark of success? It seems as if the author wanted fame himself.

When the author discusses loneliness, it feels like an extremely deeply-rooted and complex issue that an adult is purposely trying to simplify in order to explain to children.

Judging by the text, “Oh The Places You’ll Go,” Dr. Seuss seemingly desired success and fame, while trying to remain optimistic about the future. He also seemingly desired company, or just the opposite of loneliness. He projects his fears of not achieving his dreams onto children by trying to encourage them to fearlessly take on their futures.

Suess, Dr. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! New York: Random House, 1990. Print.

One thought on “Child As a Site- Oh The Places You’ll Go

  1. Not to mention the biggest adult desire which is that a child’s future will take them places! The future is defined by the conquest of places and achieving as you point out certain markers of success that the author throws in there.

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