The Little Match Girl

Published: 2021-06-30 07:48:38
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Category: Fairy Tale

Type of paper: Essay

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THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL -Hans Christian Andersen- Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) is a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children’s stories. Although during his lifetime he was acclaimed for having delighted children worldwide, his stories were always meant for adults as well. His poetry and stories have been translated into more than 150 languages. They have inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets and animated films. However, fairy tales take the most important role in his writing career. Andersen used the colloquial style that disguises the sophisticated moral teachings in his fairy tales.
Therefore, his tales became the favorite ones of both children and adults. Some of the most famous tales of Andersen are “The Little Mermaid”, “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Match Girl”, etc. Especially, “The Little Match Girl” which is famous for its humane quality has shaken the hearts of millions of readers in the world. The story is firstly published in 1845. This one begins with a little girl who appears to be alone and very cold at New Year’s Eve. She is a poor girl who tries to sell matches at the cold night. She doesn’t come back home because she is very afraid of her father who let her out to sell matches.
After finding a place between two houses’ wall, the poor girl starts to light matches to warm herself. When matches are burning, she can see many things which make her very happy. Such as: a Christmas tree, a holiday feast, a shooting star, etc. Then, the little girl sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. Therefore, she lights other matches to keep her grandmother stay nearby as long as she can. Finally, she can go together with her grandmother to the heaven. The next morning, people find her dead on the snow but there is still the smile on her red cheek.



In the story, there are two significant literature elements are character and the symbol. They are the most important factors that make the story become so successful. Firstly, the story has only one main character: the poor little match girl. Andersen didn’t give her a specific name in order to emphasize her hard life. Through the way writer introduce the main character, readers can see that the little girl is also one among many poor children like her. In fact, there are also three other characters. They are her family members: grandmother, dad and mom.
However, all of them are indirectly described through the girl’s appearance, thought and imagination. At the beginning of the story, she appears to be bareheaded and barefoot in a terribly cold night. She is sent out to sell matches in the snow with a pair of ill-fitting slippers which used to belong to her mother. However then she loses one when she is running across the road and when a boy take up the rest. The father appears in her thought as a very irresponsible father. Although she is very hungry and cold, she doesn’t dare to go home.
With just a line of thought, a father who doesn’t love his daughter is introduced clearly. Finally, her last family member, her grandmother, is mentioned affectionately through her short time life of each burning match. In the story, there are nothing related to the mother except for her ill-fitting slippers. However, the little match girl have no memories about her mother. While she fears the most is her father, grandmother is the one she does love who died for such a long time ago. The way Andersen indirectly introduces about these three characters highlights the loneliness and the unhappiness of the poor little girl.
There is no one in the world that cares for her, they just try to step as quickly as they can to avoid the cold, late night without noticing of a lonely poor girl. Secondly, the story has a significant symbol which is always in readers’ mind. It is the light of match. After each time the poor girl strikes match against the wall, the match burns brightly and she is immersed in the illusion of happiness. Firstly she imagines that she was sitting before a great iron stove. The next time, the girl sees a table with spread snow-white cloth and a lot of delicious food prepared for the dinner.
Then, the most beautiful Christmas tree seems to be right beside her. After that, she meets her beloved grandmother and finally, she continuously strikes the whole bundle of matches in order to keep the grandmother stay with her. After each time the flame go out, everything is vanished rapidly. Therefore, she has to come back to the hard reality. It can be said that the light in this story is the symbol of dreams of happiness. Everything she needs at the present becomes clearer than ever in the light of the match flame. She just dreams of many things which are normal to almost everyone but very luxury to her.
The light is the bridge of her hard reality and the happy dreams. Therefore, the appearance of the light throughout the story highlights the emotions, wishes and dreams of the poor little girl. She always dreams of the good things even though the life has treated her so hard. Is the light also the wish of the author to the little girl and all of other poor people? Through the little girl’s dream, he expresses his mercy to these unfortunate. Using metaphor device through the light image, Andersen successfully describes the dreams of happiness, the little girl’s short life and even the humane value message he want to send to readers.
This symbol greatly contributes to the vitality and humane quality of the story. To sum up, the story “The Little Match Girl” has the great reality and humane value. It indirectly reflects tragic fate of the poor in the current Danish society. Moreover, through the story we can see clearly the compassionate heart of the author and his talent as well. REFERENCES: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Hans_Christian_Andersen http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/The_Little_Match_Girl http://www. online-literature. com/hans_christian_andersen/981/

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