Green Eggs and Ham

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I would not eat them in a house!
I would not eat them with a mouse!
I would not eat them here or there!
I would not eat them anywhere!
I do not like green eggs and ham!
I do not like them, Sam-I-Am!

Dr. Seuss does it again, putting a tiny collection of words to excellent if annoying use (especially if you have to read the same book to your kid eighty times in a row... or just enough to get it stuck in your head).

He manages this with a text composed primarily of repetitions of the same few lines, with a few minor changes, building up to a climactic ending. His whimsical pictures showcase the crazy world in which this storyline is possible.

The book was written as the result of a friendly bet: Seuss's publisher was impressed that The Cat in the Hat was written using fewer than 300 different words, and bet Seuss that he couldn't write another one with a coherent plot using only 50 different words. Seuss hit it right on target.

The story follows a nutty-but-persistent character named Sam-I-Am, who hangs around a tall cranky dog-face whose name is never given. Throughout the book, Sam pursues his neighbor around, asking him if he would like to eat the eponymous foodstuff? No? How about this way, or that way...? His increasingly exasperated victim denies his offer each time, until finally he gives in just so that Sam will leave him alone...

...and given that this is the Trope Namer for I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham, he likes it.

An Animated Adaptation was featured as part of the TV special Dr. Seuss on the Loose. The Canadian band, Moxy Fruvous, also sang a funky rap song using an adaptation of the book. It also got an adaptation as a Living Books title. Inspired the title of the beginner snare drum solo, Green Eggs and Flam.


The original book(s) contain examples of:[edit | hide | hide all]

  • An Aesop: Don't be afraid of trying new things. Unfortunately, some people misinterpret the message as giving in to peer pressure.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • Sam-I-Am is basically harassing the grumpy character, refusing to take a clear "no" for an answer. Regardless of his (presumably) good intentions that is really not behavior that should be demonstrated to children.
    • And really, is it unfair of the guy to be wary of green eggs and ham?
  • Butt Monkey: The unnamed guy goes through a lot of crap in the story.
  • The Cat Came Back: Sam pulls this off several times in the book.
  • Constrained Writing: It uses only fifty distinct words.
  • Defictionalization: The Friendly Toast, a breakfast joint in Portsmouth, NH (with a second location in Cambridge, MA) is one of the more famous of the Greasy Spoon-type places that actually make their own version, though the ham isn't usually dyed green.
  • The Determinator: Sam will stop at nothing to get the poor guy to eat those eggs and ham.
  • No Name Given: The poor guy Sam-I-Am keeps pestering.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Okay, whose idea was it to have an unfinished railroad leading off into an ocean?!
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Well, this is a Dr. Seuss book.
  • Rhyming List: The list of all the places that what's-his-name won't eat green eggs and ham.
  • Screwy Squirrel: Sam-I-Am
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Reportedly, the publisher wagered $50 that Dr. Seuss could not write a story using only 50 different words. The result? One of the most popular children's books of all time.
    • Even better, the publisher reportedly never upheld his side of the bet.

The animated version contains examples of:[edit | hide]