Literature: Horton Hatches The Egg
In this well-known Dr. Seuss
book, a lazy bird named Mayzie talks Horton the elephant into watching her egg. In spite of her promise to be back soon, the pachyderm finds himself egg sitting through fall and winter. His friends make fun of him; hunters capture him, but nothing will keep Horton from his sworn duty to the egg...and he is eventually rewarded.
The story was adapted into a Looney Tunes
short in 1942, directed by Bob Clampett
This book provides examples of:
- Catch Phrase: "I meant what I said/And I said what I meant./An elephant's faithful/One hundred percent." Might overlap with Survival Mantra.
- Determinator: Horton, who else?
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Horton, having signed on for an afternoon of babysitting, spends a miserable 51 weeks getting snowed on, threatened with guns, used as a circus exhibit, and mocked by the other animals. But in the end, he gets a child and is returned to his old home, "Happy/One hundred percent."
- Egg Sitting
- Get Out: Mayzie to Horton, when the egg begins to hatch.
"But it's mine!" screamed the bird when she heard the egg crack.
The work was all done; now she wanted it back.
"It's my egg!" she sputtered. "You stole it from me.
Get off of my nest and get out of my tree."
- Happily Adopted
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Mayzie. See "Laser-Guided Karma" below. Along with "Yertle The Turtle", this is one of the only Dr. Seuss stories to have an antagonist get comeuppance (appropriately, Yertle got his the same way).
- Honorable Elephant
- I Gave My Word: What ties Horton to his egg sitting.
- Interspecies Adoption: Well, sort of.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Mayzie's baby inexplicably hatches having much greater resemblance (and attachment) to Horton, who has been watching over it the majority of the time. As such Horton ends up it's adoptive father, while a fuming Mayzie is left with nothing.
- Lazy Bum: Mayzie.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: The elephant-bird.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: A fish caricatured after Peter Lorre appears in the Looney Tunes adaptation.
- Nurture Over Nature
- Parental Abandonment: Mayzie, who decides that she'd rather be in Palm Beach than watching her egg.
- The Reliable One: Horton, as noted in his catch phrase.
- Seen-It-All Suicide: A fish after seeing Horton sailing away on a ship, still firmly positioned on his tree, takes a pistol to his head in the Looney Tunes short.
- Taking Advantage of Generosity: Mayzie really milks her vacation while poor Horton suffers with her egg.
- Unbroken Vigil: Horton sits on the egg for 51 weeks nonstop.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Mayzie, upon finally returning for her egg that Horton has been watching for 51 weeks, pretty much just tells him to push off.