The cool symbolism you totally missed in the classic ‘Grinch’ cartoon
This December, we’re all rewatching all our favorite holiday films — including the tale of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (both versions!). Of course, anyone who’s seen the classic ’60s Grinch TV Special and the 2000 Jim Carrey version knows that there are certainly a *lot* of differences between the two, from the length to the animation style to the humor. However, perhaps one of the largest differences is in terms of plot.
At over an hour longer, the modern Grinch story delves into why the Grinch is who he is. . . and the focus of the Whos on the commercial aspect of Christmas. Little Cindy Lou Who was given probably a minute’s worth of air time in the original, while practically the entire modern film revolves around her. This could be partially chalked up to the fact that she’s the only Who who is singled out in the film, but if you put the two films together, there is one piece of symbolism that really makes our heart grow two sizes.
In the older Grinch movie, that the only Who who has their eyes open the majority of the time is Cindy Lou Who — everyone else has their eyes closed most of the time. Even when they’re completing tasks that probably should require some close visual attention. Wake up, Whos!
Even when their eyes are open, they’re looking pretty dazed and kinda out of it — a tiny black pupil in a big white eye. Like, is this kid OK?
And there’s this blank stare:
Then, we look at little Cindy Lou Who, who not only has her eyes open almost *all* of the time — including when everyone’s singing with their eyes closed in a circle — but has the biggest, kindest, bluest eyes in the whole world. Where in the world did she get those eyes from?
So back to the newer Grinch. In the film, Cindy Lou Who seemed like the only one who seemed to truly understand the Grinch and give him a chance. In fact, if it wasn’t for her constant persistence, the rest of the Whos never would have understood that he really wasn’t a terrifying monster or a misfit deserving of staying the mountains, but rather a misunderstood guy with a kind heart underneath a tough exterior.
Or, as another way to put it. . . Cindy was the only one who had opened her eyes to who the Grinch really was. Hmmm, is this symbolism we’re seeing?
*Anthony Hopkins Voice* So maybe these films weren’t so different, after all. . . maybe, just maybe.
(Images via Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures.)