The Little Mermaid and The Wild Swans: An Analysis of the Stories

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The Affection of Vanity; behind the scenes of “The Little Mermaid” and “The Wild Swans” I believe that the stories ”The Little Mermaid” and ”The Wild Swans” are fundamentally about vanity and the craving for self-satisfaction by main characters in each story. Hans Christian Andersen was born on the 2nd of April, 1805, in the city of Odense outside of Copenhagen in Denmark. He was a Danish author who wrote lyrical poems, fairy tales and novels. He was known as H.C. Andersen throughout the world since he preferred using his first two initials instead of signing his whole name. He succeeded in writing over 200 fairy tales and 1000 poems during his lifetime and his stories and poetry have been translated into more than 150 languages inspiring different plays, ballets and movies. H.C Andersen passed away on the 4th of August 1875. People still, even after H.C Andersen’s death, reminisce about how he lit up the world with his amusing children’s stories and unbelievable fairy tales, such as for example "The Little Mermaid” and "The Wild Swans." The main character’s choices in each story is an action of vanity and these are the ideas from which my essay will emanate and give me the possibility of laying the fundamental proofs of my thesis statement by indicating the patterns of vanity throughout both stories. “The Little Mermaid “ is generally about a young mermaid whose dearest wish is to become a human being so she could fall in love above the waters with a prince. She is even willing to precede her identity as a mermaid and leave her life and her family behind, at the darkest bottoms of the ocean for the sake of turning this dream into reality. “The Wild Swans” is on the other hand a story about the sacrifice which one princess makes in the hope of rescuing her eleven brothers who have been cast under a spell. These two stories do not differ so much from each other since the main character in “The Little Mermaid” is willing to give up her life and make bodily sacrifices for the sake of love, while the princess in “The Little Swans” believes that she is able to save her brothers by making bodily sacrifices as well and all of this for the sake of her own love, believing they are able make it on their own by their abilities. Vanity is the excessive reliance on one’s ability to impress others, either by looks or abilities. According to many, vanity is a bad characteristic and can be related to egotism and arrogance. Vanity is often portrayed as a peacock in the artistic world, except for in the Bible, where it is represented by the Whore of Babylon according to The Free Encyclopedia. (Section: The symbolism of vanity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanity). Vanity falls together with arrogance and presumption into the context of pride as one of the seven deadly sins. There are different references to this theory in the Bible where the classical example for this sin is shown in the story of the Tower of Babel which can be found in Genesis 11:5-8 in The Holy Bible. The characters in “The Little Mermaid” have in general been self-centered throughout the whole fairytale by questioning their abilities of beauty and possibilities. They have kept on battling the chase of beauty by trying to glamourize themselves. The biggest factor which leads me into making these kinds of assumptions about the Mer-people was the fact that their will to be different was far more important than showing compassion for each other. Evidence can be found in on page 136 of the booklet where H.C. Andersen is describing the Mer-King’s mother as an old and typical posh lady which has settled in the big palace and adapted her way of living to the needs provided by the services of the house. Andersen has also given her the characteristics of believing that she is far better than the rest of the inhabitants of the sea and to prove it she is described wearing twelve oysters on her tail, while the rest of the mermaids in the ocean are only allowed...
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