In the beginning, this story is told from a third-person perspective, addressing the reader, or the small boy as depicted in the illustrations, as "you." Then the Once-ler takes over and starts telling a story from the past in his perspective.
Tone and Mood
The tone is serious and sermonizing, with light-hearted touches from Dr. Seuss' fanciful language and vivid imagery.
Protagonist and Antagonist
The Lorax is the protagonist who tries to save the trees. The Once-ler is the antagonist who is greedy and cuts down the trees.
The Lorax tries to fight for the trees and the creatures that need the trees to survive. The Once-ler does not listen, and continues to operate his business, eventually ruining the forest and driving the creatures and the Lorax away.
The climax of the story comes when the Once-ler's factory chops down the last Truffula Tree. All of a sudden, the consequences of his greedy desire for expansion arrive, and the Once-ler is forced to reckon with them.
At the start of the book, the scenes were dark and smoky, portraying the consequences of the Once-ler's past mistakes.
The Once-ler vows that he is "doing no harm" by chopping down just a single tree—but is soon to destroy the entire forest.
Dr. Seuss's brilliant use of vivid imagery is in full force throughout the story's text, and work in conjunction with the vivid illustrations. Together, text and illustrations create two distinct worlds of imagery. The first is the barren, desolate world after the Once-ler's mistakes, described in the text as "dank" and "slow-and-sour," and depicted in the illustrations as gray and somber. The second world is the verdant, lush landscape of the Truffula Tree forest before the Once-ler set up shop. Both the text and the illustrations emphasize the colorfulness and fertility of that environment.
Metonymy and Synecdoche
The illustrations personify the creatures that live in the Truffula Tree forest. The Brown Bar-ba-loots, for example, have faces and play happily like humans.
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.