Monday, March 10, 2008
Butter Battle Book
The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss (1984)
I don't know which word is the proper one. Allegory. Parable. One of the two. The Buttle Battle book is about the Yooks and Zooks. Yooks prefer eating bread (or toast) butter side up. The Zooks? They're crazy (at least according to the Yooks) because they prefer eating bread (or toast) butter side down. The Yooks and Zooks live side by side. Except for the wall. The wall that keeps them safe from the crazies on the other side. There is even a border patrol so Yooks can watch for crazy Zooks and Zooks can watch for crazy Yooks. The problem escalates when we go from merely watching to threatening force and action with ever-increasing weapons. Yooks will do this, Zooks will respond with that. Each one upping the other. Until the threat of destroying both the Yooks and Zooks becomes plain to all. This one is full of political implications. War. Weapons. Military. Propaganda. The villainizing of those that are different from us. Making (or finding) excuses to keep the 'bad' guys bad. One of the funnies that I noticed? The use of music--to rally support for the cause. Their anthem? "Oh, be faithful!/Believe in thy butter!" It seems silly but that's the point. People can turn even the smallest silliest things into reason to make war.
This one would in my opinion be for older readers. I first encountered this one in high school actually. As an example of how literature can reflect the times, etc. This being an example of the cold war.