An Analysis of Green Eggs and Ham

On the surface, Green Eggs and Ham is supposedly about a picky eater who refuses to eat a dish that he would end up enjoying simply because he thought it didn’t sound appetizing. Parents hold it up to their children as an example to try new things and keep an open mind about them.

That’s not what this analysis is about, however. It is about deeper-routed, and possibly sadder truths spoken by the book. The unnamed main character announces (prior to being offered anything) his dislike of Sam I Am. This seems reasonable to us as Sam I Am is shown to be riding past our unknown protagonist multiple times holding a sign that states his own name in giant letters—an objectively obnoxious thing to do.

Don’t believe me? Do this to literally anyone in your life. Right now… I’ll wait.

How did it go? Poorly, I bet.

Anyway, we have established a relationship between the two characters in the book where one dislikes and is reasonably annoyed by the second, named (or at least calls himself) Sam I Am. So, it would be fair to assume that the main character does not refuse the food solely based on being a picky eater, but rather that they are trying to avoid engaging with a person they don’t like and hoping for them to leave quickly (Spoiler: they don’t).

Another extrapolation that one could come to, and this is a sadder truth I referred to in the second paragraph, is that we as people often miss out on things we would enjoy simply because they were recommended to us by people we find in sufferable and whose opinion we distrust—usually for good reason (i.e. the person is annoying, intrusive, dumb, unbearable, or all of the above).

Here’s an example of what I mean: Imagine the guy in your office who constantly corners you to talk about his favorite Anime and seems pretty obsessed with Asian women for someone who’s not Asian and has never left the U.S., recommends that you watch Abbott Elementary. Having never heard of it, you would assume the show is awful because you are put-off by this guy who makes you uncomfortable. In reality though, you would probably love the show, and now won’t give it a shot because how good could a show recommended by that guy be?

I’m not saying we should be more open to suggestions from people we dislike—far from it. I’m saying irritating people should not be allowed to recommend good things. It throws off our judgment.

Long story short—the unnamed protagonist in Green Eggs and Ham is completely right to avoid the odd-looking dish presented by the loathsome Sam I Am. The odds of it turning out to be enjoyable were miniscule at best, and eating the meal would only prolong their interaction, which we have established, no one would want.

14 thoughts on “An Analysis of Green Eggs and Ham”

  1. Clearly, you missed your calling as a book reviewer. This insightful look into a well-loved American staple belongs on the NY Times Book Review as well as Amazon. We need to delve further into the workings of the mind of Dr. Seuss; what was his true objective? Next up: Horton Hatches a Who. What exactly is going on there? An elephant, an egg (obviously not his own) – nothing adds up. Inscrutable!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, yes. I might need to brush up on that Horton story, sounds fishy indeed. I wasn’t aware of Roger’s unauthorized biography, that’s quite interesting—I only knew of his official memoir “Turns Out I Did Get Fooled Again.”

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:
    My Featured Blogger this week is K.J. Hanson of the somewhat unimaginatively named KJHansonStories.com. K.J.’s writing, on the other hand, is bursting with imagination and humor. I know literally nothing about the guy except that he must have difficulty swallowing since his tongue is perpetually in his cheek. In other words, K.J. is a very witty fellow. Visit him and you’ll see. And who knows, maybe he’ll even tell you what K.J. stands for.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sam is annoying. But he is enthusiastic about this food he’s trying to get our protagonist to eat. Did you notice that he doesn’t alter the taste of the food to make it more palatable? It’s the same food in different locales with different eating partners. Then, look at the last picture in the book. Our protagonist has his arm around Sam I am so he’s not only changed his opinion of the green eggs and ham but also of Sam. Sam thinks that by giving him more choices of where and with whom he should eat, it would entice him to at least try it. Now by this time, the green eggs and ham are probably cold, with dirt from the box and the train and the boat, goat hair, fox hair and little mouse nibblings, and soaked in whatever water he and Sam landed in…AND HE EATS IT ANYWAY JUST TO GET SAM OFF HIS BACK.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brilliant! Insightful! But mostly, useful! Personally, I almost always judge the quality of the thing being recommended by my feelings about the recommender. I’m not sure I will change that practice, but it is good to become aware of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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