Grinches

Today I finally started reading “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” to Klara. I always wondered what it was about but it’s not like I’d sit there and read it to myself.

It’s a great story but we didn’t get far because at the very beginning Grinch shares that he doesn’t like loud noises.

“I don’t like loud noises also too!” Klara said. “They hurt my ears.” After that, there was no explaining to her that Grinch was supposed to be a negative character. Especially since I also hate loud noises. (Sensitivity to light and sound seems to run in the family).

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18 thoughts on “Grinches”

      1. the Grinch isn’t negative, he’s a child.
        The book simultaneously plays into children’s fears (losing something important) and lets the children vicariously enjoy the Grinch’s attack on the established order (this is a recurring Seuss theme).
        Children simultaneously experience the glee at subverting adult rules and dread and glee about the consequences when the Whos (adults) find out.
        In the end, the Grinch discovers the meaning behind the ritual – unconditional parental love and the Grinch matures a little and becomes an active participant of the social order (carving the roast beast) instead of remaining a bystander affected by others’ rituals that he doesn’t understand or enjoy
        A warning about the cartoon (which is great and you should definitely watch).
        There’s a dog! Max the dog, just referred to a time or two in the book is a much more important presence in the cartoon (where his obvious devotion to the Grinch signals that the Grinch is redeemable)
        They also add a song full of disgusting gross images (of the kind that children love)

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          1. Uhm Madame Critique de Literature, all of Seuss’s protagonists are children, not literally but metaphorically and their story arcs are those of children learning to navigate the social and moral landscape they inherit from adults (all the Others in his books represent the world of adults which is often unthinking and arbitrary to his child protagonists).
            That’s one reason children identity with them so intensely (and adults have such fond memories of them).
            They’re very didactic without being preachy (except maybe the Butter Battle Book cause eating bread butter side down is just gross and unnatural – nuke those freaks into orbit!)
            Anyhoo “A person’s a person no matter how small” (Horton Hears a Who) is Dr Seuss writing directly to the child reader, recognizing their inner goodness before they have a voice that others are prepared to hear.

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            1. Uhm Madame Critique de Literature, all of Seuss’s protagonists are children, not literally but metaphorically and their story arcs are those of children learning to navigate the social and moral landscape they inherit from adults (all the Others in his books represent the world of adults which is often unthinking and arbitrary to his child protagonists).

              With the exception of You’re Only Old Once! A Book For Obsolete Children. I wanted to get this for my aunt, but I was vetoed by the rest of the family.


              https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.js

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              1. With the exception of *You’re Only Old Once! A Book For Obsolete Children. *

                Someone gave me a copy of that book when I apparently started growing “old” (over thirty years ago!), and it isn’t very good — basically just a repetitive series of unoriginal gags about the increasing physical and mental deterioration stereotypically associated with old age (colonoscopy gags, for example). Seuss may have been trying to mock his own physical aging at the time, but the book wasn’t funny and had no heart to it.

                Seuss had a marvelous talent for writing to children, but his several attempts at humorous writing for adults (the book and several magazine articles that I remember)
                all fell flat.

                It’s interesting that some of the best, award-winning children’s stories have been written by authors who were also highly successful at writing best-selling lurid adults-only material (Mickie Spillane, Roald Dahl), but Seuss tried to write to adults as if they were psychologically simply middle-aged children — and for better or worse, that’s not true.

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              2. I didn’t know Spillane wrote anything for kids and Dahl wrote anything for adults

                I think everything Seuss wrote is more for adults. N is almost weeping over “I wish I had duck feet.” And I’m finding “Marvin K Mooney” be deeply therapeutic.

                “I’m not going to get up today” is very clearly for parents and not kids. Kids aren’t equipped to get this shit. “Green Eggs and Ham” are not even funny if you are not an adult. The genius of these stories is that adults are attracted by the content and kids by the rhyme and word building.

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              3. “I didn’t know Spillane wrote anything for kids and Dahl wrote anything for adults.”

                Spillane was a deeply religious fundamentalist (Jehovah’s Witness) who wrote several critically highly praised children’s books in his old age. Dahl wrote literally dozens (over 60) macabre horror stories that have been published in best-selling collections and turned into teleplays on television shows like The Alfred Hitchcock Show.

                Seuss’s works that appeal to adults are his stories that are told to children and reach the adult readers indirectly. His attempts to write specifically to adult readers directly haven’t been successful.

                Adults and children aren’t psychologically identical, despite some people’s strong desire to believe that. So you don’t write to both of them the same way.

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  1. You never saw the excellent animated cartoon version that has been shown on television EVERY Christmas season for the last 52 years?? It’s held up quite well.

    Viewers of a certain age instantly recognize that in the 1966 animated version, the Grinch’s face has been redrawn into a perfect caricature of Boris Karloff, the famous horror actor who narrated the film. (All of the other faces are unchanged from the original Dr. Seuss drawings.)

    NEVER watch the downhill-from-dreadful live-action movie starring Jim Carey. The producers of that atrocity didn’t even have enough self-respect to commit suicide afterwards.

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  2. WordPress never ceases to amaze me. How did Cliff’s apt but belated remark end up above mine?

    He’s right, though — the lovable dog and the disgusting song are the best parts of the cartoon. I still watch it, year after year!

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    1. WordPress never ceases to amaze me. How did Cliff’s apt but belated remark end up above mine?

      Comments appear after the post that they were replies to. Since Cliff’s post was a reply to Clarissa’s reply to Vic, it followed Clarissa’s comment here.

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