The Lorax

The Lorax Literary Elements


Children's literature, environmental parable

Setting and Context

Fictional land in the future

Narrator and Point of View

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.

Major Conflict

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.