These days, people still love and cherish fairytales written by Hans Christian Andersen. Therefore, they keep empathizing with the characters’ feelings and even lamenting their tragic fates. One may easily remember “The Little Mermaid” as the most poignant story about one-sided love ending in everlasting woe. However, the author killed the protagonist for a valid reason, not to exploit the dramatic episode for the sake of popularity.
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It is a well-known fact that in the past, mermaids were hardly considered to be holy creatures beloved by God and their angels. According to Dinnerstein, there was a strong belief in the eternal life that only men could possess by nature. However, there was a discrepancy about women because they were believed to be human beings too, but could become immortal only by pairing with men, serving them, and bearing children (104-112). It means that the mermaid may have wanted to rise to Heaven one day, where her gained immortal soul would thrive among others. That is why she tried to find out information about it by asking her grandmother to tell her more about people. Surprisingly, she expresses her wish “to be a human being for one day and afterwards to have a share in the heavenly kingdom” very directly (Andersen 11). It means that the author put a Christian message into the narration and probably tried to show the pathetic fate of ordinary women in the beautiful decoration of old legends about mythical creatures.
Indeed, it is not to forget that unconditional love possibly plays a great role in this particular story. The mermaid serves as an example of a true lover ready to sacrifice her own life to save the beloved one. The beauty of the story lies in the protagonist’s choice to see the one who rejected her safe sound instead of killing him to save her own life. Hans Christian Andersen probably tries to show that to become sea foam means not the meaningless death as the readers might think, but to be given a second chance to prove oneself for the sake of achieving immortal life.
All things considered, “The Little Mermaid” seems to be a significant narrative and a lot more than a mere fairytale for small kids. One is sure to find interesting concepts of Christian life by going deep into the text. That is why the end of the story is quite reasonable as it serves to depict morals and values of the past that could be unfair towards women.
Andersen, Hans Christian. The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales. Dover Publications, 2002.
Dinnerstein, Dorothy.”The Little Mermaid” and the Situation of the Girl.” Contemporary Psychoanalysis, vol. 3, no. 2, 1967, pp. 104-112.