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Literature: Green Eggs and Ham
aka: Green Eggsand Ham

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 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. "Weird Al" Yankovic sometimes recites the book on stage to the tune of U2's "Numb". 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:

  • An Aesop: Don't be afraid of trying new things. For some people, however, the message comes off as more unfortunate.
  • Artifact Title: At the time, some diners had "green, eggs and ham"—where the "green" was a vegetable side—on the menu, hence the joke. Perhaps because of the book, they're not served anymore.
  • Bowdlerise: In Israel, any reference to ham was taken out of the translation due to ham being not kosher.
  • 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.
  • Determinator: Sam will stop at nothing to get the poor guy to eat those eggs and ham.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: OH REALLY?
  • 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.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: The unnamed protagonist recites his longest list of places he won't eat the food while falling through the air.


The animated version contains examples of:


Goblin MarketPoetryThe Highwayman
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerLiterature of the 1960sThe Giving Tree
Goodnight MoonPicture BooksHarold and the Purple Crayon

alternative title(s): Green Eggs And Ham
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