…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.
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…