Has “The Cat in the Hat” ever struck you as a metaphor for demonic posession? Consider these points:
The authority (Mother in this case) is out from the house when a creature (the Cat) comes in uninvited.
The fish (apparently in charge while the mother is out) is against the creature’s presence, but the children seem powerless to do anything about it.
The Cat assures the children that there will be great fun. However, all he seems capable of doing is showing off and calling for attention. The creature is self absorbed, deceptive, and destructive. He promises “games” and “fun” but it seems only he gets to play.
The creature brings in two more creatures, recognizable only as things. They are more destructive than the Cat.
Up to this point the story sounds to me like straight up demonic posession, especially in view of Luke 11:17-26. The story takes a turn, however.
The children capture the things, and demand that the Cat go, and take them with him. The cat seems sad that they did not like the games, and agrees to go. The house is left in shambles. But lo’ and behold! The cat returns with a thinly veiled Deus-ex-machina, cleans up his mess, and assures the children that he always cleans up when he’s done. The Mother comes home to an orderly house, and asks the children what happened.
Whithout this kind of ending “The Cat in the Hat” would be a useful warning about listening to good advice and not allowing strangers into the house (and all that that implies). However, the fact that the perpetrator comes back and cleans everything up is immensely deceptive. Those who enter and must be driven out do not come back to make everything alright. He who has come to steal, kill, and destroy will not set everything right once He has been driven out. The ending is misleading in the extreme.
Even without the metaphorical undertones, the story is a false one. If someone comes in, uninvited and against my better judgement, and sets something amiss in the name of fun and games, I sincerely doubt that same person will return to set it right again.
I do enjoy Dr. Seuss’ works, and with little kids around the house I’ve had the privelage to read a number of his books a number of times more than the number that I would read normally. The clever rhymes built on constrained vocabulary delight both the mind and ear. I enjoy, too, the iconic precipitous hills with bulbous tufts of grass sprouting from the tops. Perhaps I was read the stories too many times when I was growing up. Perhaps I wasn’t read them enough. In either case I enjoy them to this day, and am rather unsetteled by the message portrayed in Seuss’ seminal work.
I doubt the author intended such subversion, or was even aware of the deception being practiced. People seem to not take children’s books very seriously, and excuse anything under the pretense “they’re only children!” I tend to disagree, lies told to children being even more potent than lies told to adults. So please, be aware of what you read, but be even more aware of what you read to your children.