I wanted to make a comment about this little scene a long time ago. It’s probably obvious, but I thought it was interesting.
When Uncle Ubb turns around and pulls down the fake beard he’s wearing, that sort of opened my eyes to something. And this is the obvious part: a portion doesn’t go to charity. It goes to his family.
I just think it’s kind of surprising that he was giving part of his money to his family- which is nice, and all, I guess- but he never realized they were just using him for his money.
That’s why I felt so bad for him when his family left him. He brought it upon himself, obviously, but he didn’t realize what he was doing. And that sort of breaks my heart.
This made me think of something. What if he actually thought he was giving money to charity? What if his family was making up bogus causes for him to donate money to and just stole it? In the scene where he’s walking to his office, we see his mother doing paperwork. If she was in charge of the books, that might explain why when the company went under, he had nothing left to fall back on.
I mean, they made it look like picking the tuffs was so hard, but the method they were using would obviously make the job hard. They could have just gotten ladders and used both hands to do the job. I mean, the Once-ler himself showed how easy it was the harvest the tuffs. He had a whole bunch pulled off the one tree in the time it took the Lorax to arrive and walk over. Yet, they had this invention to pluck tuff by tuff.
They didn’t want to put in the hard work, so instead, they convinced him to make a factory. Then they could sit back and do minimal work while the machines got rid of the trees. They were probably paid for that. Then, on top of that, I’m sure the Once-ler gave them money since they were family and all.
But what if it wasn’t enough? They convinced him to donate to charity, when, in reality, that charity was fraudulent. Really, it emptied into their bank accounts.
When the company ran out, they left not because the money had stopped flowing really. But because they were getting as much as they could get. They took everything and left. And the Once-ler had no funds left to even make up for what he had done, which is why the place was still a wasteland when Ted arrives. Shunned by society and penniless, the Once-ler had no other option but to wait for someone else to care.
He did. But what could he do with a seed and a polluted world? He couldn’t risk planting it when he couldn’t clean the water, or clean the land, or anything. He could only wait.