The Ugly Duckling

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Hans Christian Andersen – The Ugly Duckling

“The Ugly Duckling” has been described as Andersen’s most “confessional” work. Read the story and then research his life. Afterward, write how you feel that “The Ugly Duckling” is a metaphor for Hans’ life? In your analysis, make sure to include common characteristics between the author and the story’s central character and how you think Andersen decided to use the “ugly duckling” to tell his story.

In the story The Ugly Duckling describes the eternal struggle between good and evil and shows the rule of justice, the supremacy of love over hatred and persuasion over force.

The Ugly Duckling is the best swimmer of them all. But as he is different, and does not seem able to do anything useful, he is rejected by his mother, rebuffed by his brothers and sisters, picked on by the other ducks in the barnyard, and scorned by other animals. He is left to freeze and starve in the wild. Yet after a year has passed, he has become the most beautiful of all birds.

Hans Christian Andersen lived a childhood of poverty and neglect, raised in the father's shoe shop. Like the ugly duckling the writer also suffered family homelessness when he was a child, if we really look at his life we can realize that there are many similarities between the two stories, so maybe he wanted to leave his own life reflected in his stories. Like the Ugly Duckling, born in a humble duck-yard yet destined to become a swan, Andersen was born the son of a poor cobbler in the city of Odense, where the family shared a single room and lived a hand-to-mouth existence. There was always food, but never quite enough; there were books on the shelf, but no money for grammar school. Also Andersen was known to not have much luck with the ladies, and the sad tones to many of his stories are probably the result of his real life heartaches. Listen

Read phonetically

1. adverb
1. as
2. like
2. preposition
1. as...
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