Literary Writing Style of Dr. Seuss

Every writer has a unique writing style that cannot be compared to other writers, even if they are among the best in their genres. It is a known fact some writers find it challenging to write for children, but Dr. Seuss has created an extraordinary style showing fun, playing with words, and using sentences and syntax that surpasses the current writing styles and the one from the past. While his books are always written for children to teach them life lessons, adults have also indulged in the worlds created by Dr. Seuss. Some features of his writing style are as follows.

Dr. Seuss’ Word Choice

Dr. Seuss is a master of word usage. His words are very easy, plain, and simple. However, the way he used them in his poetry seems he plays with them. He mostly muddles them up into meaningful phrases and then rejumbles those phrases into verses. For example, the following stanza from “And to Think That I Say it On Mulberry Street.” The repetition of some words and then phrases in this stanza, such as “all the way” and “I’ve looked” shows how he uses words carefully and repeatedly to convey his meanings to his readers.

All the long way to school
And all the way back,
I’ve looked and I’ve looked
And I’ve kept careful track.
Except my own feet
Was a horse and wagon
On Mulberry Street.

Dr. Seuss’ Sentence structure and Syntax

Similar to his word choice, the sentence structure or syntax of Dr. Seuss is also very simple, highly alluring, and innocent, making it perfect for young readers. Although some sentences are complete in verses, they show the same simplicity and innocence that Seuss likes to pack in them. For example, a stanza from his book “If I Ran the Zoo” runs thus. The very first verse comprises two sentences, and both have only one word changed. The rest are the same. Yet they become meaningful and convey how Dr. Seuss has captured the very soul of the poetic recitation through syntax.

I’ll capture one tiny. I’ll capture one cute.
I’ll capture a deer that no hunter would shoot.
A dear that’s so nice he could sleep in your bed.
If it weren’t for those horns that he has on his head.

Dr. Seuss’ Figurative Language

Figures of speech are prominent in Dr. Seuss’ writing. He mostly relies on connotations and denotations, along with sound devices like consonances and assonances dexterously. In-between, he relies on literal language with dialogues, metaphors, and similes. For example, this short stanza from “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street” shows it amply. Although the meanings are clear, they have seductive quality due to the connotative use of dashing, steps, and GREAT. How Seuss uses capitals and exclamation marks to show his meanings is clear from the last verse.

I swung ‘round the corner
And dashed through the gate,
I ran up the steps
And I felt simply GREAT!

Dr. Seuss’ Rhythm and Component Sounds

Dr. Seuss’ poems are delicate and trivial, but their rhythm is great. Almost all the stanzas perfectly rhyme with the end rhyme. He also uses internal rhyme, but it is rare. Most of the time, he relies heavily on other sound devices such as alliteration, consonances, and assonance, but he is a master of rhyming, specifically in heroic couplets, as given in the stanza below. This stanza shows the rhyme scheme of ABAB with assonances and consonances at work. They have filled it with a melody that seems perfectly syncing with the main theme the poet wants to see a chariot on Mulberry Street.

Yes, the zebra is fine,
But I think it’s a shame,
Such a marvelous beast
With a cart that’s so tame.
The story would really be better to heart
If the driver I saw were a charioteer
A gold and blue chariot’s something to meet
Rumbling like thunder down Mulberry Street!

Dr. Seuss’ Rhetorical Patterns

Although Dr. Seuss relies on imaginative characters in his poetry, he sometimes resorts to narration and description. His narration comprises short and crispy but poetic dialogue or conversation, while his description mostly shows color and color scheme. Other than these, he uses exclamation marks, capital letters, and rhetorical questions such as in the given verses.

Now, what can I say
When I get home today?

Dr. Seuss’ Themes

There are several themes in the poetry of Dr. Seuss, mostly humor. The very first one is to laugh at every situation and make others laugh. Perhaps this is the gist of his poetry he writes on everything and creates rhythm and rhyme where none seems to exist. Specifically, for school-going children, he created poetries within stories that are full of playful themes such as love, hate, relationships, fun, and enjoyment. For example, “And to Think That I saw it on Mulberry Tree” presents this stanza having fun as its major theme.

That’s nothing to tell of
That won’t do, of course…
Just a broken-down wagon
That’s drawn by a horse.