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Tony Grist

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An Unseasonal Truth [Dec. 14th, 2008|10:21 am]
Tony Grist
I'm sorry to say it, but Dickens was wrong. The Cratchitts would have hated the new, benevolent Scrooge even more than they hated the old, miserly one. You can't buy love by turning up on the doorstep cutting capers and waving a turkey by the neck. A benefactor- especially one there's no hope of repaying- is universally despised.

I've lost friends by being kind to them- and also because they were kind to me. Gifts- big one-sided gifts- can kill a relationship. Equality is replaced by obligation. Much better to sever the link than to be reminded every time you see a person's shining face that you owe them one. They say you should give anonymously so as not to reap the gratitude; I say you should give anonymously so as not to reap the resentment.

There are times when you have no choice but to give- because it's the only moral thing to do- but you shouldn't expect a reward. Rather the reverse.

[User Picture]From: frumiousb
2008-12-14 11:25 am (UTC)
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Esp. lately because we've been doing okay at a point when many of my close friends are really suffering financially. When the shoe was on the other foot, I received so many little kindnesses from people and the universe that I'd like to pay it back now. But there's real grace needed to assess the correct size of the assistance, and also to downplay any cost to you-- I notice that people resent help much less if it's something that you can do without much perceived cost (furniture that you give away instead of selling on the marketplace, for example).

(By the way, given that Scrooge was an employer, I think that the situation is different-- and that the change might have been justly appreciated.)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-12-14 03:49 pm (UTC)
Scrooge's status as Cratchitt's employer does complicate matters. Dickens is very interested in these relationships of benefactor/benefactee, employer/employee. Little Dorrit (which I've just been watching on TV) is full of them. At the very heart of the story is Mr Dorrit's "ingratitude" to his benefactor Clennam once he (Dorrit) comes into his fortune.

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