“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1957) is a Christmas story by Dr Seuss. The Grinch, an anti-Santa, tries to stop Christmas from coming by taking away all the Christmas presents!
In 1966 Chuck Jones, formerly of Looney Tunes, made it into a half-hour television show, which they show in America every year at Christmas time. Boris Karloff tells the story, the voice of Tony the Tiger sings the songs.
In 2000 Universal Pictures made it into a bad Jim Carrey film. But one good thing came out of it: Who-ville at the Universal amusement park in Florida, where you can sled in the snow in summer!
- Place: Mount Crumpit, Who-ville.
- Time: The 1930s or 1940s. The story is told as if it took place years ago – yet electric Christmas lights, which appear in the story, were not common till the 1930s.
- Dramatis Personae:
- The Grinch, age 53 (same as Seuss), who lives in a cave high up on Mount Crumpit.
- Max, his dog
- Cindy-Lou Who
- Every Who down in Who-ville – the tall and the small.
- Who-ville Christmas traditions:
- Christmas trees
- Hanging mistletoe wreaths
- Hanging stockings
- Santa Claus (Saint Nick)
- Giving children presents, like:
- pop guns
- roller skates
- Christmas feast:
- Who pudding
- rare Who roast-beast
- Joining hands in the town square and singing while Christmas bells ring.
- Length: 1,367 words
- Reading level: 3.6 years of schooling – harder than “Cat in the Hat” (1.2).
- Exclamation marks: 106
- Meter: the main Seussian one, anapestic tetrameter:
- ev’ry WHO / down in WHO / ville liked CHRIST / mas a LOT
The Grinch hates Christmas! He gets a wonderful, awful idea to stop it from coming: he will dress up like Santa Claus and instead of delivering presents, he will take them away! His dog Max wears an antler and pulls the sleigh.
The Grinch takes not just Christmas presents, but stockings, Christmas trees, food for the feast. All he leaves on the walls are some hooks and some wire.
He cleans out Who-ville while the Whos are sound asleep. The only person to catch him in the act is Little Cindy Lou Who, who was not more than two. She sees him pushing the Christmas tree up the chimney and asks why. He thinks up a lie and tells her that he is taking the tree to his workshop because of a broken light on one side. She does not notice that the living room is empty.
He loads all of Who-ville’s Christmas stuff into bags, up chimneys and onto his sleigh. Max pulls the sleigh 900m up the side of Mount Crumpit – to dump it.
When they get to the top the Grinch stops so he can hear Who-ville cry boo-hoo! But instead of crying he hears singing! He could take their presents and their food, but not their songs – or their joy.
Moral: Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!