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The Little Mermaid
Transcript of The Little Mermaid
Hans Christian Anderson wrote the little mermaid in 1873, however when most people think of the little mermaid, they think of Disney. Disney retold the story in 1989, over a hundred years later, making it a more kid-friendly story.
In the original by Hans Christian Anderson, the sea king had 5 daughters, who, on their fifteenth birthday, were allowed to rise to the surface of the water, and gaze upon the land of the humans. Each daughter came back and told the rest what she found most beautiful, and finally, the youngest's birthday came. She rose and saw a ship, and on this ship was a man, a prince, who she became entranced with.
She is found by the prince, who is meserised by her beauty. Soon she becomes his favorite companion, even though she is considered dumb and mute. The prince loves to see her dance, so she dances for him, despite the pain it causes her. Soon the prince meets someone who he will marry. The little mermaid is devistated and on the day of the wedding, her sisters come to her, after selling their hair to the sea witch in exchange for a knife, and tell her that if she kills the prince and his bride, she can come back to the ocean as a mermaid. She could not bring herself to kill the prince and his new bride, so she throws herself off the ship, and her body desolves into sea foam, however, she does not cease to exist. She has turned into a daughter of the air. Because of her selflessness, she will be given the chance to earn her own soul by doing good deeds to mankind for 300 years and will one day rise up into the Kingdom of God.
In the ending of the original she is presented as a hero as she chose not to kill the prince to save herself, even though he has married another woman, meaning she is doomed to death. She is portrayed as a self-sacrificing hero, and inevitably comes out looking smarter than the prince. Here the mermaid is very juvenile. She mourns for her unfortunate body and longs for an immortal soul. She is instantly concerned with love after seeing the prince. Her voice is sweet and her skin, hair and form is beautiful. While not as determined as Ariel, she still finds strength to visit the witch in order to gain what she wants. The moral here shows that self-sacrifice can reward you.
In Disney's version, there is a more feministic approach the mermaid. The shy and quiet mermaid from the original tale evolves to a bright and curious young woman. Ariel focuses more on being human and on the relationship/love aspect of being a woman. She becomes the average teenager that falls in love and goes after her dreams. Given the happy endings of Disney movies, everything is solved in the end with a kiss. Eric finally realizes he has been tricked and rescues Ariel from Ursula, the evil witch. Ariel turns out not to be the strong individual she was at the beginning, and becomes another woman in a hero's arms. While she still achieves her dream of becoming human and marrying the prince, she loses her strong sense of individuality as a woman. The moral of this story is that dreams do came true.
Disney changed the little mermaid in many ways. In disney's version, they were raised more by their father, where as in Anderson's original, they were raised by their grandmother. There was also the fact that in the original, there were five daughters and in Disney's there were seven. The little mermaid gets a name, Ariel, and is given a happy ending, unlike the original, where she sacrifices herself for the sake of the prince and his happiness.
Why It Was Written
Many believe it was written as a story of a struggle in H. C. Anderson's life. Some say it represents his inability to be with his friend, Edvard Collin. Andersen said "Our friendship is like 'The Mysteries', it should not be analyzed," and "I long for you as though you were a beautiful Calabrian girl." In the fairy tale, written when Collin decided to get married, Andersen displays himself as the sexual outsider who lost his prince to another. This leads many people to believe that Anderson was actually gay. Some people refuse to acknowledge it, because of the friendship they shared until Anderson's death.
The Little Mermaid
The little mermaid decided that she would then go to the sea witch. The witch willingly helps her by selling her a potion that gives her legs in exchange for her tongue and beautiful voice, and she warns her that once she becomes a human, she will never be able to return to the sea. Consuming the potion will make her feel as if a sword is being passed through her body, yet when she recovers, she will have two human legs and will be able to dance like no human has ever danced before. However, she will constantly feel as if she is walking on sharp knives. In addition, she will obtain a soul only if she wins the love of the prince and marries him, for then a part of his soul will flow into her. Otherwise, at dawn on the first day after he marries someone else, the Little Mermaid will die with a broken heart and dissolve into sea foam upon the waves.
Anderson vs Disney
Why It's Important To Me
Growing up, I adored Disney's
The Little Mermaid
, I felt like i connected to her. Ariel was always the outsider of the group with her 2 or 3 friends. She followed what she believed in, despite the cost, and in the end, she achieved what she had been longing for. I see Anderson's version as a huge part of what Disney's is. however Disney created something that I, as a child, looked up to much like many other children. After all, when teachers asked me what I wanted to be, I always replied with "Mermaid."