Dr. Seuss would not have made the Grinch green unless it was intentional. Therefore, I will argue the Grinch is jealous of the Whos. I focus on the live action movie instead of the animated cartoon because this film dives into the Grinch’s background more and gives us more information about him.
The Grinch (Jim Carrey) says, “I really don’t like them. No I don’t!” Although he says statements like this a lot (“I hate you!”), I believe he really wants to be a part of them.
That is why he agrees to “a little social interaction”. He wants to be in their society, but they reject them. He’s violent interactions represent his denial of his desire for their affection. This is why he shoots things at them and saves Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen) just to wrap her like a present.
On a side note, more envy is represented in this movie than just the Grinch. Betty Lou Who (Molly Shannon) is jealous of Martha May Whovier (Christine Baranski). She wants more “beautiful Christmas lights” than her neighbor.
We dive into the Grinch’s jealousy of the Whos when Cindy Lou starts researching his origin.
The Grinch wanted to fit in with the rest of the Whos because he liked Martha May. He was self-conscious because he was “eight years old and [he had] a beard”. Rejection from other students started his disdain for his fellow classmates. Thus he left Whoville.
Cindy Lou wants him to “be Holiday Cheermeister”. She wants him to “reunite with the Whos and be a part of Christmas”. She thinks he can be good and get along with the Whos.
The Grinch goes through every means he sees as necessary to avoid the Cheetmeister award (clothing, “fashionably late, etc.) But ultimately, he shows up and goes through every hoop. Eating pudding, wearing a light-up sweater, and sack racing with the kids put him in a place where others can be jealous of him. He relishes in his fame for awhile.
The Grinch steals their stuff because he is jealous of their happiness. He doesn’t want the stuff; he’s ready to shove their Christmas off a cliff. He wants to be a part of them. When he realizes Cindy Lou is working so hard to make him apart of their society, he changes his mind and sails back with all their stuff.
Not a lot on the internet about either movie or the book. However, I did find a psychology class description where students study the Grinch in relation to psychology.
Here is a character analysis of the book characters.
Thanks for reading!