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Julianna, Lindsay, Jacklyn, and Susan’s Major Project Video

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Here’s the video part of our major project.  Enjoy!

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Here’s the write up:

For our final project video, we took Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol and switched out Tiny Tim for Frankenstein’s creature from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  By doing this, we were hoping to complicate the idea of using Tiny Tim as a moral yardstick.  We felt that the switch would distort what Charles Dickens created in the character of Tiny Tim.  Since Tiny Tim and the creature are opposites within the realm of disability, in our video Scrooge’s moral compass is distorted by the interaction with the creature in place of Tiny Tim.

In A Christmas Carol, Tiny Tim is a vehicle for Scrooge’s moral redemption.  This is discussed by Paul K. Longmore in his article “Cultural Framing of Disability:  Telethons as a Case Study.”  He argues that Tiny Tim is represented as a “perpetual child, sweet, cheerful, and brave” and that “the disabled person [is an] object of charity, grateful, but hopeless and doomed unless those who are healthy and normal ‘give’” (Longmore 506).  Longmore proves that Tiny Tim exists to be an object of sympathy and acts as a moral yardstick for those around him.  It also helps that Tiny Tim is tiny, pathetic and not very threatening as a disabled character.  In Dickens’ tale, Scrooge transforms into a moral member of society because the ghost shows him what Tiny Tim’s future would be without Scrooge’s help.  This prompts Scrooge to act differently and help the Cratchit family, specifically Tiny Tim.

In contrast, the creature is a visually displeasing and deformed disabled character.  In Shelley’s novel, he disgusts those around him.  The creature is a disabled figure to be feared since he kills several people and threatens Victor to get what he wants.  Since the creature gets away with everything in the end of Frankenstein, he is seen as an empowered disabled figure.  He fits Tobin Siebers’s model of the cyborg figure from his article, “Disability in Theory:  From Social Constructionism to the New Realism of the Body.”  Siebers states that disability does not exist and is therefore something that is created by those around the disabled.  Consequently, in Frankenstein, the negative manner in which the outside world treats the creature, labels him as a disabled character that is a threat.  He is treated negatively mostly because of his appearance but also because of the fact that the creature was created, not born.  This is opposite of the way Tiny Tim is viewed in A Christmas Carol, which is as a harmless cripple, but nevertheless a human.  For clarity’s sake, the creature we represent in our video is Victor’s creature after he realizes he is not accepted by society.

By swapping the creature for Tiny Tim, the moral compass in the video becomes distorted.  In the video, Scrooge does not change because of a want to assist the disabled character, like in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  Instead, he changes to help the Cratchits escape the curse of disability they have been given in the form of the creature.  Because Scrooge and the Cratchits want to destroy the creature, rather than help him a distortion takes place.  Tiny Tim exists as an object of charity and when Scrooge gives to him, he betters his moral standings.  On the other hand, in our video, the creature is a vehicle for Scrooge to destroy and therefore creates a different kind of moral compass, not based on charity.

Written by Susan

November 22nd, 2010 at 12:50 pm