Why I like Andersen's fairy tales - Andersen Hans Christian

Essays on literary works - 2023

Why I like Andersen's fairy tales
Andersen Hans Christian

Under the pen of Andersen, fairy tales arose with a double addressee: a captivating plot for children, and a depth of content for adults. This gave them a special naivety and spontaneity close to children, and at the same time created a second, “subtextual” philosophical plan, which is inaccessible to children, but reflects the specifics of modern life, helping adults to comprehend it. "The Nightingale" developed the ideas of "The Swineherd" on a higher level - about the true, "real" in human life and about the supposed values. The romantic theme of the confrontation between the artist and the tradesman is fully revealed in The Ugly Duckling, a work that can be perceived both as a fairy tale for children and as the life story of a poet who seems alien and worthless in the world of pragmatic souls.

Andersen would later call swans the poet Elenschleger, the sculptor Thorvaldsen, the scientists Oersted and his brother. "Yolka" is also a fairy tale with two addressees. Her idea is the neglect of one's natural fate, the dream of the extraordinary and the overestimation of one's capabilities. This theme was also heard in the tales of the first collections, for example, in the Garden of Eden. But now Andersen deepens it and delivers it in a more concentrated and at the same time simple way. Andersen draws the reader's attention to the fact that dreams are different. An illusory dream, which does not take into account the possibilities of the individual, destroys it. Andersen's most significant philosophical work is the fairy tale "Shadow". The theme of the shadow and doubles was constantly used by romantics to embody the impersonal principle that depresses a person.

Similar oppression occurs in Andersen, when the shadow replaces the scientist and forces him to serve her. But Andersen draws attention to the origins of the phenomenon: the carrier of high spirituality, the scientist himself took the first step towards his fall. He separated his shadow from himself and sent it to a neighboring house for the sake of philistine curiosity, so, in himself lay the cause of his death. Renunciation of oneself even in the smallest, threatens, according to Andersen, with innumerable troubles and death. It is no coincidence that because of this, a rather neutral at first shadow later performs the functions of an ominous, free in its actions double. This is a fairy tale for adults.

One of the masterpieces of the 40s was The Snow Queen. It organically combines everyday life and fantasy, all of it is permeated with the great love of the writer for people, and his mild irony about the world, his love for the beauty of the harsh northern nature. The world is spiritualized in this fairy tale: the deer thinks and feels, the old crows help Gerda. Andersen's memories of his poor childhood got into this tale: the garden in the attic of Kai and Gerda is the garden of his childhood. But the main idea of the work, which provided him with immortality, is the affirmation of activity and the power of good. Humanity, which defeats even rogues, is opposed by evil trolls and the soulless Snow Queen.The most ordinary person, a little girl, becomes the bearer of the heroic principle. Romantic Andersen adheres to the peculiarities of the “local color” when describing the places where Gerda ends up: these are the miserable living conditions in the attic, this is the arrogance at the court of the prince and princess, this is the rude customs of the robbers, this is the Finnish chum, where there are no doors and therefore it is necessary to knock on the chimney, etc. All these realities, imbued with the author's humor, introduced into the fairy tale, create a tense interest in events and a selfless struggle for the salvation of a kind human heart - the greatest value in the world. At this stage, Andersen also created stories such as "The Little Match Girl".

In form, it is a parody of a Christmas story, where the suffering of poverty should have a happy ending. For Andersen, happiness comes to a freezing and lonely child only in a dying dream. Indifferent passers-by take the frozen girl for a pile of rags. The stories told by Andersen are noticeably simplified. There are no more people from the graves, no more swans-princes.

The heroes are a Christmas tree, a hare, mice, rats, inhabitants of the poultry yard, a cat, a nightingale. Andersen confesses: “Often it seems to me that every fence, every flower says to me: “Just look at me, and then my story will pass to you” and now, I should want, as I immediately have stories. Objects, animals, birds, plants that became heroes of fairy tales seem to retain their “psychology”: the tree is offended by the fact that a hare can so unceremoniously jump over it, etc. But the author needs these characters, first of all, in order to use them to tell about people, about their features.

A collar or a darning needle in the fairy tales of the same name, the inhabitants of the poultry yard in The Ugly Duckling are ordinary bourgeois who suddenly imagined themselves to be exceptional and important persons. The darning needle, for example, believes that the fingers exist only to hold it. Andersen creates a completely special fantasy, devoid of romantic dualism. His heroes freely move from the world of everyday life and reality to the world of fiction. This tradition of the folk tale was close to the artist from childhood. The "simplification", so to speak, of fairy-tale material in the 1940s did not at all mean a shallowing of fantasy.

On the contrary, Andersen was never as resourceful as at this stage, when he told amazing stories about the most prosaic subjects. Changing the scope of the search for fairy-tale heroes brought fairy tales closer to reality