Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dr. Seuss vs. Eminem

Our local library has rather foolishly allowed me to check out books (I'm blacklisted at no less than two other public libraries. Don't judge.  It could happen to anyone) and Jack has been taking advantage of the library's Dr. Seuss collection. There's something about Dr. Seuss that is fun to read and fun to hear: that sing-songy lines, the creative rhymes, the staccato beat.

I haven't read Seuss in years, yet it all sounds so familiar. Like something I've heard so very recently. Hmm.  Surely I can't be the only who has noticed that Dr. Seuss and Eminem sound a lot alike. I need to research this further.

Some of Dr. Seuss's most famous, sing-songiest works are written in a rhythm called anapestic tetrameter. "Anapestic" means two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllables, and "tetrameter" means there are four of them in a line. A line of anapestic tetrameter sounds like this:

da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM

And Yertle the Turtle, the king of the trees
The king of the air and the birds and the bees

You can hear it, right?  The Cat in the Hat is another good example of anapestic tetrameter.  Go grab your copy - you know you have one. 

And turning to Eminem:

All the people up top on the side and the middle
Come together lets all bomb and swamp just a little

Right? AMIRIGHT? Brilliant.

As my husband would say right about now, "the shit you think of, Jenn."  Yeah, I know.

I hope somewhere out there, there's some awesome lit teachers opening some doors for high school students with thoughts like this. 


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