The Grinch - A Christmas Character Analysis

Updated on April 23, 2020

The Grinch is a worldwide icon of Christmas. In this analysis, I'll be focusing primarily on 2000's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, given the fact that Jim Carrey's version of the character has a lot more development and human-like actions than other versions of our favorite cat-eyed grouch.


In terms of fruition, the Grinch was created by Dr. Seuss in a 1955 issue of Redbook in a poem titled The Hoobub and the Grinch. Grinch did make his book debut in 1957, however. Eventually, almost ten years later, Grinch was given his own animated television featurette, which saw the birth of his famous song You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch. For the featurette, the legendary Boris Karloff voiced the narrator and the Grinch himself. Yes, the featurette is regarded as a classic.

Anyway, I'm going to go with the backstory of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) as I feel it fits Grinch's overall character (and it's my favorite interpretation of Grinch, despite all the flaws it has. The flaws add character, I suppose).

The Grinch arrived in Whoville as a baby, where he was soon adopted by two sisters. Even as a baby, Grinch showed some sadistic tendencies as a child, given the fact that he rammed into another baby's carriage and sent them spiraling out of control. Anyway, we move forward into Grinch's elementary school years, where he is seen having a crush on a young Martha May Whovier. Augustus May Who was the Grinch's romantic rival and bully, which is apparent when Augustus points out the fact that Grinch has a beard in elementary school. Shortly after, the Grinch made Martha a present and delivered it to her after cutting his face while shaving where the kids began to laugh at him. After promptly destroying the classroom and all of its Christmas items, Grinch left and isolated himself at the top Mount Crumpit where he would spend a lot of his time leering over Whoville.



The Grinch is a direct contrast to the cheerful Whos of Whoville. He is misanthropic and genuinely mean and has a heart that is, as stated by both himself and the narrator, "two sizes too small". The worst parts of his already rotten personality are especially abundant around Christmas time. He deeply hates Christmas, especially the sounds that accompany the holiday. He also takes pride unnecessarily cruel tasks, for instance, a group of Whos decide to go on a trek through his mountain and Grinch takes it upon himself to scare them. Grinch also enjoys annoying the Whos of Whoville with various pranks and other bits of mayhem.

The earliest negative emotion the Grinch probably ever had was the sense of broken trust. I'm going to get a bit technical here and point towards the moment when he is first delivered to his guardians. He is left up in a tree for hours. As an infant, children obviously need the support of their parents, especially in dire situations; but in Grinch's very first day of life, he is forgotten and left out in the cold. This is probably where his doubt of returning to Whoville comes from later on in the story, as well as make him extremely short-tempered, more notably at the schoolhouse when he is teased.

However, Grinch is not all bad at first. In the 2000 film, Cindy Lou, an innocent and cheerful child, is seen falling into a gift sorter. Grinch could have easily left her there to die, but instead saved her. When he realized that Cindy was beginning to see a nicer side of him, Grinch proceeds to wrap her in gift wrap and leave her alone until her father frees her. With this, I notice that Grinch knows the importance of life, while he also holds onto the bitter feelings he has had for years. Essentially he is a type of character who lives by "look what you've made me" instead of being inherently evil.

He is not an open person and dislikes anyone who is. This further driven home with the various keep out signs he has posted all over his mountain. Even when he meets Cindy Lou for the first time, he tries to scare her away and make her dislike him like everyone else. This, of course, backfires given Cindy Lou's kindness. Still, Grinch does his best to remain isolated and goes out of his way to ignore festival invites. He's even kind of mean to his loyal dog Max, while at the same time admiring the dog and getting rather excited whenever the dog does something closer to the Grinch's own character.

Grinch is also not conscientious either. Going back to the 2000 film, we see within the Grinch's cave and find that he is a messy individual; this is probably due to his isolation and the lack of company he has had. He doesn't care about the fragments of glass littering his chest while he eats a bottle or the rotting food all over his table. This is even apparent near the end of the film when he apparently has a change of heart (see what I did there?) and the sled containing all of the various Christmas items he stole from the Whos, slips away from him.

He eventually saves the presents and returns to Whoville to return them all. While he has notably become more positive, he still keeps some of that stand-offish attitude he's famous for, but is able to keep it in-sync with the rest of the Whos' moods. For the first time in his life, he feels genuinely happy.


From what I've learned about this Grinch writing this character analysis is that he is a character dominated by his ego. At the start of the story, his ego is immensely negative and by the end of the story, his ego is positive. All of the actions he partakes in are dominated by his emotions, whether it be the profound sense of betrayal he feels from all of the bad things he has had happened to him in his life or the sudden realization that Christmas is more than just a materialistic holiday, that it's about joy, friends, and family.

The Grinch was a truly interesting subject to analyze. He both hated and loved the Whos and Christmas. He wanted to be alone, yet also wanted to be a part of something bigger. Despite his trauma and obvious depression, the Grinch eventually found a place in Whoville where he belongs.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)