Pictures Can Tell the Whole Story

“Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss was a very important picture book for me, because it was actually the first book I ever read. While the language and tone of writing was very important to the story, the pictures included spoke just as much in the book. The illustrator was able to tell a story by using just pictures. This was accomplished by the way she drew the characters in different situations. One significant part of the pictures that stood out to me was that in almost every picture Sam I am is always smiling.

introduction-of-sam

This gives him the innocent and kind personality, setting him as the main protagonist of the story without using any words to do so. The way that she draws the unnamed antagonist is a complete contrast with Sam I am. Firstly, the unnamed antagonist seems to wear a permanent frown. Also, while Sam I am is a vivid and light yellow color, the unnamed antagonist is a boring and pale tan.

introduction-of-the-antagonist

The contrasts between them when they are talking is so obvious, that the kids reading the book have a fun time loving Sam I am, and hating the antagonists’ boring and bland personality. This goes further when the antagonists continue to reject Sam I am. His body language is rude and demeaning as he turns his nose up at him and puts his hand on his hip, while Sam I am exhibits a sad and disappointed face that leaves the kids feeling bad for Sam and hating the antagonist.

contrast-of-sam-and-the-antagonist

Without any words the illustrator could tell a story of a small and cute protagonists being rejected by a taller and ruder looking antagonist, that leaves the audience rooting for the protagonists, and hoping the antagonist will finally give in to the Sam’s wishes. I feel like the biggest picture placed in this book was when the antagonist finally tries the green eggs and ham, and his entire expression changed.

i-do-like-green-eggs-and-ham

Suddenly he doesn’t seem like the mean grumpy character that the readers would dislike. He has a smile on his face and his long floppy ears are curved up, as if to show that his entire body is smiling. Also for the first-time Sam and the antagonist are smiling together. The contrast between the two is minimal, and it shows the readers that there is now two protagonists that the readers both love.

 

When I read this book as I child, I always started off hating the antagonist, but when he finally tried the green eggs and ham, he turned into a new person that I enjoyed. The greatest thing was that the illustrator did such a masterful job, I was able to see all of this by just the pictures, and it was definitely something that I enjoyed.

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5 Responses to Pictures Can Tell the Whole Story

  1. Rodrigo Salas says:

    Bryce, your blog post was very good at analyzing the art in a way that is certainly overlooked when one reads this book as a child. I completely agree that Seuss’s slight drawing variations really change the perception the reader has on the antagonist. The way Seuss draws is generally overlooked due to the extensive vocabulary of his stories. You chose good images to write your blog post on because they really supported your argument regarding facial expressions. Overall, a strong analysis on green eggs and ham.

  2. Michael Farrante says:

    Bryce, I like that you brought up Dr. Seuss as an illustrator and not just a writer. Most of his credit generally lies in his text and rhyme and the power of his illustrations go unnoticed. Like you mentioned how he was able to show the difference in character of antagonist and protagonist without having to use the text is masterful. As a whole I believe your blog post does a great job analyzing the book and how Dr. Seuss’ illustrations can tell a story without the need of text but it also does a great job showing how masterful Dr. Seuss was.

  3. Nicholas Huang says:

    I really enjoyed green eggs and ham. I thought that book really taught an important message of patience. It really put an emphasis on trying new things and also being prepared because you don’t know whether you’ll enjoy it or not. The pictures are the main focus here. I really liked the way you analyzed the photos and showed how Dr.Seuss didn’t have to write a lot of words in order to get his message over in the book. Your blog post had a lot of pictures in it which I think was effective in making sure that specific examples were provided for the readers of the blog post.

    Nicely done.

  4. Nicholas Joaquin says:

    Bryce, you have covered skilfully the art direction of the masterful Dr. Seuss in “Green Eggs and Ham.” It’s interesting how the usage of simple facial expressions, body language and colour coordination between Sam and antagonist can tell such a story.

    However, another part that Dr. Seuss was known for in his writing of picture books was his usage of rhyme and meter in the written part of his books (anapestic tetrameter, from what I have researched). What interactions between text and image are most notable in “Green Eggs and Ham?” Is there a sort of physical interaction of text and image that act as depth for either Sam or the antagonists character? (eg. text slipping down the side.) Or, are there more subtle text formats that assist in telling the story (eg. smaller font at parts etc.)?

    Good work.

  5. Tianyi Liu says:

    Hi Bryce. It is great we picked the same book! I am very happy to see that you enjoy the book as well. Your blod post did a great job analyzing the elements used in this book. You focused on the emotion in each two characters, which I believe is the best part of this book. It is really nice to see the unnamed character fianlly reaching out for that ham and egg. By the way, Dr. Seuss is a he, haha. Well done!

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