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The film How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) tells the story of the Grinch, a hairy green fur creature that has a smile from ear to ear. Exiled from Whoville, he has been living in a cave on top of the mountain with his loyal and only friend, his dog Max. Bad experiences with other children when he was just a child made him escape. This led to his isolation which later caused a thirst for revenge and an uncontrollable hate for Christmas.
Even though How the Grinch Stole Christmas exhibits traits that fall in line with other criticisms, it largely falls under Socio-political or Marxism literary criticism. That is not to say it does not contain elements of moral criticisms, as it weighs the values of the Whos versus the values of the Grinch, nor does it lack the symbolism, style and imagery necessary the be considered Formalism.
Marxism is based on class struggle and economics, viewing capitalism as the cause for society’s problems. The Grinch shares this viewpoint as the Whos are the capitalists that alienate him in their society as he can’t afford the same things that they can afford during the Christmas season. This causes him to “hate Christmas” and the “whole Christmas season”, since he thinks he can’t be a part of it because of his socio-economic standing.
Marxism “critiqu[es] texts that assume a classist society of economic elitism” while it “champion[s] texts that support the “common man.”” The Grinch is far from being a “common man” in Whoville, as he clearly does not have the money to afford “toys” or “Who-roast beast” that the Whos seem to celebrate so much. This is a problem to the Grinch, as he aligns material goods with happiness, and since he does not have these goods, he thinks he therefore cannot achieve happiness.
After the Grinch thinks he has finally stopped Christmas by stealing all the material goods the Whos have prepared, presents and food, he is shocked to find out that Christmas “came without ribbons” and “came without tags”. Money and goods was irrelevant to the Whos. The Grinch was so sure that Christmas was based on material that when he realized it “doesn’t come from a store”, his “small heart [g]rew three sizes”.
Marxism, is a theory that tries to balance economic wealth in a way that produces a more fair and just society. In the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch believed stripping everything away from the Whos would level their economic status to his level, allowing them all to be at his level and experiencing his unhappiness. After realizing that the material wealth did not matter, Dr Seuss shows us that the equal distribution of love as a currency is what will bring true happiness to this village.
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