Banter & Books Club,
An SMC Initiative
The Children’s Christmas classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss leads us into the delightful world of the Whos of Who-Ville (the weirdest town name, I know) and the red-eyed crabby Grinch. With Seuss’s rhyming prose, easy style of narration and beautiful illustration, this narrative poem is undoubtedly meant for children. However, in the Christmas spirit, Banter and Books (our book club) read a classic, and we were not disappointed! The funny rhyming scheme, quirks like calling the refrigerator an ‘icebox’ coupled with our cartoon-imitated voices made it a fun read.
Dr. Seuss’s small hearted Grinch is comparatively on the same level as scrooge when it comes to being one of the crankiest holiday grumps, ever. The story revolves around our fictitious character, who lives in a cave on the side of Mt. Crumpit, almost like a social outcast, and hates Christmas for no reason.
The undaunted cheerfulness of the Whos preparing for Christmas, annoys the Grinch, to no extent. So, he hatches a plan to stop it. He puts on his Santa suit and bullies his unwilling dog into being his reindeer. Then he is off to steal gifts, toys, Who-pudding, Who-roast-beast and even the Christmas trees by climbing through the chimneys. When he thinks he has finally succeeded in his evil mischief, the Whos show him that he has never known the true meaning of Christmas at all.
In our understanding of the poem, the Grinch’s loneliness led him to be miserable which made him jealous of other people’s happiness on Christmas. This prompted our antagonist to steal all the gifts and treats associated with the holiday from the inhabitants of the Whoville. The poet’s creative irony to make the Grinch impersonate Santa in his heist to steal Christmas was only a clever little touch that added to the theme of the poem.
Moreover, with the growing materialism in our society, commodities are given more importance than human relationships. The communal nature of festivals is lost to capitalist commercialization and superficiality. This poem reflects on the true nature of Christmas which comes not just from the gifts and the feast but from togetherness and love.
The misleading title suggests that the Grinch was successful in his attempted heist to steal Christmas, but the end surprises us with the transformation of the Grinch whose heart was once rumored to be two sizes too small!