The Lorax is teeming with words and images that paint a picture of a lush, fertile land with a thriving ecosystem. The hills are green, the pond is clear-watered, and the sky is a tranquil blue. The illustrations accompanying the Once-ler's descriptions of that land depict smiling animals. The Brown Bar-ba-loots are literally frolicking on a hill. These images project joyful innocence, painting a clear contrast between defenseless nature and the Once-ler's desire for profit.
The text's illustrations clearly show the onwards march of business. On one page, the Once-ler's factory buildings extend as far as the eye can see, each building dotting a rolling hill in the far-away valley. Smog in strange colors billows out from the factory chimneys, and gaudy purple vans are shown streaming out of the factory, headed presumably to consumer markets in all directions. These images show the hustle and bustle of capitalist expansion, at direct cost to the environment.
Part of the moral message of The Lorax involves painting a very clear picture of what will happen if environmental degradation is allowed to unfold unchecked. By the end of the Once-ler's activities, the land is dark and barren. The sky color itself has changed. The air, as the narrator describes, is "sour," and there are no birds in the sky other than a few old crows. These details do not leave the costs of the Once-ler's mistakes up to readers' imagination.
The Lorax Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Lorax is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.