Editor’s note: The Lorax film is opening, and we’re using the film as a reason to think about the book. We’ll have a couple of posts, including this one from 14-year-old Ben Wedegar. Last November he filed several reports from the scene of the dolphin kills at Taiji – “the Cove.” This piece demonstrates the power of a book!
By Ben Wedegar
The Lorax is a classic story that never gets old no matter how many times you’ve read it. The Lorax may seem like just a fun child’s tale written by Dr. Seuss. But there is a deeper, very powerful meaning to the story. When I first read, or was read the book I was very young. Yet I was sad to see the Brown Bar-ba-loots going away because there was no food left, the Swomee Swans leave because the skies were too polluted for them to fly in, the Humming Fish go away because the water was too trashed for them to swim and then to see the final Truffula Tree be cut down.
Even at a very young age I fell in love with this story, but the story also frightened me for many reasons, one being because I was scared that maybe we were going to lose all of our trees due to deforestation just like in the story.
The story did open my eyes to things that were wrong and happening in our world today, but there was something more important and powerful that I took away from the story. It’s that it doesn’t matter how small you are, or how many people disagree with you and are against you, it only takes one person that really really cares and never gives up to make a difference. As long as one person cares strongly about something and they’ll never give up no matter who they’re up against or how many people disagree with their thoughts; it only takes one of those people to make a difference and to make a change. And that’s what I really took away from the story. It made me always want to only trust my beliefs and stick with what I thought no matter who told me I was wrong and no matter how many people thought I was wrong.
The book influenced and inspired me so much at that time, and it still does today. It didn’t matter if the Lorax was against one Once-ler or a whole city of Once-lers, he still stuck with what he believed in and never budged his thoughts because he knew he was right. He never gave up hope, he did as much as he could and though the landscape and wildlife were destroyed, the Lorax never quit, even when he was the only one left. Throughout the story, he never ever changed his beliefs, because he believed in them 100%. I wanted to be the Lorax in the real world; I wanted to step right into the middle of deforestation after reading the story and beg the tree cutters to consider how bad their crime was.
The book means so much to me. It drives me, even though it’s just a story generated from a man’s imagination. I was inspired by the Lorax, the one who never gave up hope, the one who stood up against a population to fight for what was right and speak up for nature, the one that gave everything he had to fix the mistakes others had made.
At the end of the story, after the Lorax has left because he can no longer live in his home, the landscape is trashed, the skies are brown and smoggy and there is no wildlife. The last Truffula Tree seed is entrusted to a young boy, and his job is to regrow the forest of trees from that one seed. He has to try to recreate what was there before the Once-ler came along and cut down all the trees. And then the story ends, with the boy walking away with the seed.
This ending gives me hope, because even though everything was gone, there was still one tiny seed left, and even from one small seed, a forest of trees could be grown if somebody gave them care. I hope, maybe someday, the barbalutes would be able to return to their Truffula Trees on beautiful green grass, the Swommy Swans would be able to come back to their clear blue skies, and I hope the Humming Fish will be able to return to their crystal clear water. And I hope, someday, the Lorax will be able to come back, and to be proud of himself for never giving up.
So –what I took most from this story is that from a whole forest, there lies a seed of hope.
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