Saturday, December 8, 2007

How Capitalism Stole Christmas…

And we’re not talking about stores decorating before Thanksgiving (though just ask Gillian about it). No, we’re talking about How the Grinch Stole Christmas as analyzed from a socio-political perspective by sleep-deprived college students the weekend before finals.

The Grinch – He represents all that is wrong with capitalism. He is not satisfied until he has everything (he stole the last crumb from the mouse). He exploits and abuses the common, working man (see: Max). His small heart shows his lack of moral values, while his tight shoes represent the restrictive nature of operating within a system predicated on materialism and selfishness.

Whoville – Whoville is a communist workers' utopia. All of the Whos share everything, from toys to food. They dine at a communal table and eat of the same food, with everyone getting his fair share and no one profiting at another’s expense. As the roast beast is sliced, each person passes it down, looking out for everyone else before taking care of himself. Their ability to enjoy Christmas without objects proves that their lives are based on society and moral strength, not materialism.

Max – Max is the common man. He is trampled on and taken advantage of by the Grinch. He sticks with it, though, because he doesn’t know any better. When he is “pulling” the Grinch’s sled, he is representing the Red Queen theory of economics*: he must keep running faster and faster to stay ahead of the sled. This scene also shows that the Grinch only profits by taking advantage of Max’s labor.

Cindy Loo Who – She represents the questioning youth who wants to try new ideas. Her confrontation with the Grinch over the Christmas tree and what he tells her shows the lies capitalists tell to brainwash the masses. When the Grinch says he’s taking the tree to fix the light, but he’ll bring it back, he is representing monopolies snapping up smaller companies to decrease competition.

In the end, the Grinch does not turn away from capitalism; he brings back all of the Christmas trappings, showing that he still sees them as essential. However, he has become a moral capitalist, shown by his equal slicing of the meat, which demonstrates fair labor practices. Max gets the first slice of roast beast, showing that in this new society, the needs of the common man are looked out for. By breaking bread with the Whos, the Grinch is saying that he now realizes that he and the Whos can work together as part of the same global community, despite their different political/economic beliefs.

Well, there you have it: proof that our brains are fried. Somewhere, our parents are wondering if this is the only result of our expensive education…

Also, we apologize for the lack of posts lately. We just finished the last week of classes and we are now preparing for finals week. As history majors, we do have scholastic concerns to deal with.

We will be back soon, with a whole slew of holiday themed posts (keep an eye out for the history of that festive drink, eggnog, as well as our favorite holiday songs).

Happy Holidays!

Brenna & Gillian

*This theory is based on a scene from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. See Chapter 2, “Live Flowers.”


Diana Trout {} said...

Brilliant! Dr. Seuss is definitely a writer that can be read on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

Yes at least one your "parents are wondering if this is the only result of our expensive education".

Hope to see you soon.

Anonymous said...

And one male parent who is definitely impressed by the socio-economic Grinch-ology!