I Am an Evil Bitch

…and I love it.

I’m taking my I/II kids on a field trip on Monday (I may write more on that later, but for now, suffice to say that it was not a trip I would have planned).  That means that my III/IV kids are going to be essentially on their own on Monday.

Since we started reading A Christmas Carol, the III/IV kids have been campaigning to have me let them watch A Muppet Christmas Carol.

image credit

Today, I decided that I WOULD, in fact, have them watch it – on the Monday that they’ll have a sub.  Here is the handout that’s going to go with the film:

English III/IV Muppet Christmas Carol essay test

(You didn’t think that I was going to let you watch this film without making you EARN it, did you…?)

Film, while it may be influenced by written work, should be considered an entirely different piece of art for the purposes of critique and analysis.  Keep this in mind as you consider the following questions.  Please answer ALL of the questions as thoroughly and in as much detail as you can; use specific references to the film or the text in supporting your answers.  These are due, printed and in proper class format, at the BEGINNING of class on Tuesday morning.

•  Clearly, the audience for A Muppet Christmas Carol is primarily – though not exclusively – young people.  Consider the ways in which Dickens’ original story was modified to make the themes more accessible to a child, and in what ways the adults who are watching the film with their children are addressed, as well.  How does the film engage its intended audience in ways that perhaps the written work would not?  What ideas from the novel are very effectively carried over into the film (and remember that the plot or narrative doesn’t have to be “faithful” to the book – just that the themes are effectively conveyed).  Where do you feel that the film falls short in getting its message across?

•  Think about the story’s narrator and about the way Dickens chooses to tell his tale. What role does humor play in the novel? How do the comic aspects of A Christmas Carol interact with and support the moral and ghost-story aspects? How does Dickens blend comedy and horror?  Consider these same questions in terms of the Muppet retelling, then discuss the ways in which each work uses both humor and horror, and to what effect.

•  An allegory is is a form of extended metaphor in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas as charity, greed, or envy.  Thus, an allegory is a story with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.  Consider not only the role of characters in A Christmas Carol itself as allegory, but consider, as well, the “characters” from the Muppet ensemble that play those characters in the film version.  Why are human characters part of the film; what effect does that have on the audience?  Why are particular Muppets given particular roles, and what effect does this have on the way we’re supposed to understand their larger significance as allegories?

Their heads are going to explode…

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11 Comments

Filed under analysis, critical thinking, film as literature, fun, funniness, great writing, I love my job, lesson planning, Teaching, Yikes!

11 responses to “I Am an Evil Bitch

  1. Let’s hope that they explode with the joy of the Christmas season. Should be fun to answer these things. It’s a fun rendition of the story.

  2. Darci

    You are just mean…but I so want to be you when I grow up….

  3. Mwahahahahaha! My favorite part was “Why are particular Muppets given particular roles, and what effect does this have on the way we’re supposed to understand their larger significance as allegories?” I think I want to answer that myself… LOVE IT!

  4. I wonder if we will hear from psych mean parent on movies in the classroom. I recall that she too is an English teacher.

  5. Kizz, I’m not sure that will be the cause of the explosion. One could hope…

    Darci, thank you; you’re very sweet. I’ll give you pointers anytime you ask.

    Mamie, I’d LOVE to hear your answer. If you decide to write it, send it to me at mrschili dot comcast dot net and I’ll post it!

    Eddie, you remember her, do you? Yeah, me too. Haven’t heard a WORD from her since my very long, very detailed, very polite (yet still very snarky) reply to her objection to my showing movies in class. I doubt she’ll raise a fuss now; HER kid isn’t seeing the Muppets, and I’ve got a whole frickin’ unit plan for the film that I AM showing to her kid to toss back at her if she does.

  6. That’s sort of cruel, and sort of funny. At least it is Muppet-related, which should take some of the sting out of it.

  7. Oh, Mrs. Chili you delight me! I’m glad I’m not the only evil teacher forcing poor high schoolers to work the week of Christmas vacation!!! ;-)

    Love the essay questions. My book group had quite a lively discussion about the narrator of the story–who it is and the role played throughout the tale. It bothered one friend that the narrator is not named.

  8. Joe, they HATED me. It was wonderful.

    Mrs. Bees, I’m glad you think so. I’m feeling pretty awesome, myself.

    MY big question, Kwizgiver, is what happens to Marley after the story is over. Does he get a pass on his sentence because, in Scrooge’s case, he really DID interfere for good in human affairs? I’m going to ask my kids that tomorrow and see what I get; it’ll be interesting to see how their personal beliefs in how the afterlife works play into the answers they give me….

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