Hans Christian Andersen Essay, Research Paper
Children have enjoyed Hans Christian Andersen?s fairy tales for centuries. He has taken them to different places to experience different things. He has expose them inadvertently to nature, beauty, and art through his eloquent descriptions. He has created tales, which teach children spiritual, moral, social, psychological, and emotional educational values. His stories have made millions of children around the world think, and feel, and have made them compassionate toward people, animals, and nature. Through exploration of his fairy tales we will see how he makes their emotions come alive in children.
The Ugly Duckling, one of his simpler tales, has been adapted many times making it understandable for even the youngest child. This tales has even been adapted in a tune, which is well, know and sung in nursery schools toady. The basic plot of this story involves a small duckling that does not look like his siblings. He is therefore not accepted by any of ?his own?. He eventually become a beautiful swan and is then welcomed in by the other ducks. The important lesson in this story is that the duckling always stays beautiful inside. Children feel compassion for the poor duckling that is shunned by his peers, hopefully teaching them that teasing is wrong. This story is especially poignant in today?s society with all the multi-culturalism in today?s schools. Hopefully children will realize that different is not wrong or bad.
Moving on to The Little Match Girl, this story may teach children social responsibility, as well as appreciation for what they have. Andersen teaches this lesson though his fairy tale. It is very different than a parent telling a child to be grateful for what they have. Children leave this story with compassion for the less fortunate. A small girl freezes to death trying to sell matches on a freezing cold New Year?s Eve. This young child is afraid to go home because she feels her father will beat her. A child reading this story will appreciate their own home life more, and all the luxuries they have.
The Emperor?s New Clothes and The Swineherd teach a similar lesson. They both include royalty, and they both depict the royalty as foolish. In The Emperor?s New Clothes, a child is the one who announces that the emperor is naked. It is in the innocence of a child that embarrasses the emperor. This teaches the children that they can speak their mind and make a difference. In The Swineherd, it is the princess who is not as much foolish, but very spoiled. Depicting a character this way makes children see that is this not a very flattering way to act. It also has value as it appreciates nature over man made objects. I think it is very important to teach children about nature, it is important to expose children to nature so they get a sense of something real. Nature also teaches us that there is a greater power than out there who is creating beautiful things.
The Little Mermaid is a very sweet story that tells of a mermaid that wants more than the life that is set before her. The little mermaid yearns for an immortal soul and the love a handsome prince. She will do anything to achieve these goals. She ends up ?cutting off her nose to spite her face? when she gives her voice to the sea witch, for the prince was attracted to her voice. The prince remembers the beautiful mermaid who saves his life, and how sweet her voice was. Thinking that this cannot be the same girl he fell in love with he does not give the relationship a fair chance. The mermaid is then destining to die because the prince has fell in love with another. The mermaid only option is to kill the prince. She refuses to do so because she loves him so. Sadly the mermaid dies with a broken heart, and unrequited love. The only saving grace is she becomes a daughter of the air. She is allowed to continue to help others for the next three hundred years, and then will attain her immortal soul, possibly eve reuniting with her prince. The lesson taught through this story is through the mermaid?s character. She is very good, humble, loving, kind, and compassionate. In sparing the princes life she is sacrificing herself for the good of him. This is an important lesson our children must learn. Many children are brought up to be very selfish. Children must learn to be self – sacrificing at times, not as severe as the little mermaid was giving her life, but they need to learn to give some things up.
All that I have mentioned so far have been social skills taught through stories. Andersen has, in an entertaining way taught children very valuable lessons.
The last fairy tale we discussed of Andersen?s, The Snow Queen, is a tale of good versus evil. The main characters in this tale depict good and evil. Gerda and Kay are very good characters; they are pure and innocent children. The other main character, The Snow Queen, is evil. She appears as a very ice like character. I didn?t think this tale had any major lesson, I though it was more of a good vs. evil story, highlighting the good. This is good for children to see it is good for them to identify with a good character. At the age at which children read these tales they usually identify with a character and try to imitate them. I thought Kay and Gerda were very good role models for them.
Disney uses this theme a lot throughout their movies. The children usually identify with the good character, and try and imitate their traits.
As I wrote in the beginning, children throughout the centuries have been privileged to read Hans Christian Andersen?s fairy tales. Many have become better for have had reading them.