Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Erasure of Subjectivity in Green Eggs and Ham

Unknown to many, Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, wrote a thesis promoting the erasure of borderland subjectivities of those living outside the matrix of cultural intelligibility. One should note that Geisel's self-bestowed title betrays his compliance in a discourse of medicalization and psychiatry. Seuss's title operates within the realm of bio-power to promote his narratives as truth and to reify the status of his morality tales within the dominant cultural discourse. Geisel's title calls to us to take his lessons authoritatively.

In Green Eggs, the nameless narrator clearly represents those not named, those not existing within the matrix of cultural intelligibility. The narrator exists as a liminal character of  unknown gender; clearly Green Eggs is an antecedent text for Written on the Body. The dominant culture represented by Sam (clearly a reference to “Uncle Sam," i.e., American society) acts as Althusser’s ideology cop, hailing the narrator to perform in a manner that meets cultural standards. Sam offers eggs, signifying heterosexual reproduction and ham, a food choice gesturing towards Christian identity by foreclosing Jewish and Muslim membership. This is the food of bio-power: the only life worth sustaining by (Uncle) Sam is the performance of a heterosexual Christian identity. Sam threatens the narrator unceassingly: will the narrator take the food with a "house" or a "mouse"? With a "box" or a "fox"? In a "car" or a "tree"? In other words, the narrator compliance will be rewarded with consumer goods produced by the capitalistic nation-state (symbolized by the color green, the color of money) or face homelessness and the dangers of nature. The narrator resists until the end, realizing that existing outside of the cultural matrix and refusing to meet the approving gaze of the reader means certain annihilation and permanent erasure.

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