The Grinch's Change of Heart: Whodunit?
In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, we find a creature who experiences a remarkable metanoia, a profound change of heart. Well-entrenched characters tend to resist amendment, gradual or otherwise. In this light, understanding how and why people might experience a profound change of heart can help put some flesh on the bones of a better understanding of something extraordinary about us – our capacity for change for the better against such tall odds. And this kind of appreciation might also say something meaningful about our ethical attachments and commitments in general. So with this in mind, let’s see if we can understand the Grinch and his kind.
Since Theodor Geisel published his first children's book in 1937 under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, children and adults alike have been captivated by the charming and laconic tales of whimsical characters and imaginative worlds. But Dr. Seuss' stories are more than just catchy poems; they often wrestle with serious philosophical and moral dilemmas, whether it is Horton discovering the very essence of life or the Lorax teaching us about morality. Dr. Seuss and Philosophy explores philosophical concepts such as the nature of the good life in Oh, the Places You'll Go!, the nature of knowledge in McElligot's Pool, postmodernity in On Beyond Zebra, business and the environment in The Lorax, and moral character in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, among many others. Anyone who loves Dr. Seuss or is interested in philosophy will find this book to be intriguing and enlightening.
Cunningham, Anthony. “The Grinch's Change of Heart: Whodunit?” In Dr. Seuss and Philosophy: Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!, edited by Jacob M. Held, 147-157. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011.