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The Little Match Girl
Transcript of The Little Match Girl
The true meaning of the passage can be interpreted in different ways by different individuals who can apply the moral to their own experiences. Folk tales are for adults but those tales are told and passed down to remind us to be charitable and to remember to cherish our possessions and the people surrounding us. This story utilizes a significant amount of ethos, especially when describing how people reacted to the girl's death.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Society: During this time, people paid no attention to the poor and begging was illegal during Andersen's time so the poor would make matches to sell on the streets as a front for their actual begging. Child abuse was common during the time. Not only was the little match girl cold and hungry on the street, she was also abused at home, which increases the pathos of the story.
Hallucinations are one of the symptoms of severe hypothermia. The hallucinations the little match girl sees are familiar to most of us: a kitchen stove, a table set with a nice supper, a holiday tree, a loving grandmother. In the story, strangers walk unseeingly past the little girl on the night of her death and do not offer her any help.
Story: Andersen wrote many of his stories based on his mother's hardships as a child. His mother was sent out of the house to beg, and when she couldn't do it, she sat for a whole day under a bridge and cried. That personal experience drove him to write this story since his mother was familiar with the situation.
Much of his writing in The Little Match Girl is told in metaphors and he uses contrast in the class structure and in the pathos. The holiday season is known for goodwill and happiness and one would not expect there to be suffering yet the match girl is frozen and has no way to escape her responsibilities. It's a time for celebration yet there are people enduring hardships we could never imagine.
The Little Match Girl
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This fairy tale took place on late New Year’s Eve in the 18th century on the streets of Europe. This particular fairy tale is different from other fairy tales. When we think about fairy tales, we think about magical things happening. You think that a boy may become a bird, a princess may sleep for a hundred years, mirrors talk, pumpkins become carriages and a lamp may be a home for a genie. A fairy tale often tells the story of an individual, in this case it’s about the little girl selling matches. The magical happenings in this story are the hallucinations the little girl see’s which gives her comfort and relief. Some traditional fairy tales end with a happy ending but in The Little Match Girl, the little girl dies. We in our minds think, “The poor little girl died…that’s so sad!” But it's actually a happy ending for the little girl because she is with God and her grandmother who loves her and where she is no longer cold, hungry, nor was she suffering.
About the Author
Hans Christian Andersen is best known as the father of fairy tale. In addition to his fairy tales, he wrote novels, plays, and travel logs. He wrote so much that he was producing at an unnatural speed. His life consisted of amazing professional success but also intense personal complications but it all started off as his own personal fairy tale. He was the son to a shoemaker father and his mother was an alcoholic woman who washed clothing and with intense superstitions which influenced him a lot later in life. He was a strange child who would play with puppets for entertainment and had a big imagination. Andersen was extremely ambitious and vivacious and had an opportunity to attend school for acting because he was always entertaining the actors, sometimes to the point where it annoyed them. When he first began to write, he was more interested in novels as opposed to short stories and fairy tales, but he quickly became well known for those stories.