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Psychological Approach to "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

In the story, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", the character, the Grinch, has a rather distinct personality. Toward the end of the story, we see a drastic transformation in his personality. Here are the tasks:

1- Explain the personality of the Grinch by using the concepts or terms from these two psychological approaches:

Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalytic Approach Applied to the Grinch
- Freudian Concepts:
o Death Instincts
o Projection
o Oral Aggressive or Sadistic
o Id

Skinner and Pavlov's Behavioral Approach Applied to the Grinch
- Behavioral Concepts:
o Operant conditioning
o Classical conditioning
o Positive reinforcement
o Negative reinforcement

2- Explain how your approaches would account for this individual's personality transformation, and how those conceptualizations would be similar or different.

3- Note the behaviors the individual exhibits that led you to your conclusions.

4- Compare and contrast the approaches, noting how their ideas would be similar and different in their conceptualization of the Grinch's personality and its transformation

Solution Preview

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1. Psychoanalytic Approach Applied to The Grinch

a.) Death Instincts- This is also called Death Drive, which is an impulse for destruction, decay, and death. The Grinch avoids pleasure throughout the movie. He secludes (and excludes) himself from the Who's and demonstrates a desire for aggression and wreaking havoc. His main goal is to destroy the Who's and their love for Christmas. This can, perhaps, be indicative of his own anger, resentment, and discontentment.

b.) Projection- The Grinch appears to project his own feelings of disappointment, misery, and depression onto the Who's. He thought that by taking the commercialism of Christmas (e.g. gifts, Christmas tree, feast) they would all cry and experience sorrow.

c.) Oral Aggressive or Sadistic- Usually characterized by anxiety; The Grinch had a tendency to be aggressive, pessimistic and hostile. Also, he can be seen biting his nails several times throughout the film.

d.) Id- (Ruled by pleasure principle; instant gratification); The Grinch had an overactive Id in the film. He sought to reduce the tension and stress caused by the Who's (and their love for Christmas) by trying to keep it from coming altogether. He hated their joyous spirit and wanted the celebration to stop. He had no regard from their wants and wishes but instead only focused on his own. The Grinch is impulsive and has no regard for what is ...

Solution Summary

The psychological approach to "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is examined. Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic applied to the Grinch is determined.

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