How Did Hans Christian Andersen Influence Religion

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Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale stories were all composed during the 19th century. Those of us with little exposure to Andersen’s autobiographical information are left only to make assumptions based of his character through the means of his literature and the modern adaptations of his work portrayed through different mediums of art. He is often viewed by the public as a compassionate, innocent, and modest man. Though, only within a recent time frame has Andesen been portrayed in recent biographies as a “very shrewd and calculating and could also be obnoxious. Most of all, he was desperate for love and admiration” (Zipes 224). Both superstition and religion have influenced the way Hans Christian Andersen has shaped the narrative to many of his fairy tales. These influences are evident in two of his classic tales, “The Travelling Companion”, and “The Little Mermaid”.
From the time before and during the developing age of fairy tales, the influence of superstitious religions were noticeable in almost every aspect of society. It is for the benefit of our greater understanding to realize “for centuries the only instruction was that given by the clergy in
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The main protagonist of “The little Mermaid” searches for meaning beyond her life as a Mermaid, including her pursuit for immortality. Andersen writes from one mermaids perspective, “we have not immortal souls, we shall never live again; but, like the green sea-weed, when once it has been cut off, we can never flourish more”, (Andersen 66). The only way for the little Mermaid to obtain an immortal soul is to fall in love with a human; for then his soul becomes eternally true to her. Human’s are the only ones gifted to go to the heavenly world. The mermaids lust for humans and immortality is drives her to escape her common life, thus the character’s superstitious beliefs should be recognized as a major theme to the
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