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Analysis

Literary Devices in Andersen's Fairy Tales

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

There are 156 tales in this collection, and you could make a case that each one has its own setting: in some stories, flowers can talk, while in others, historical figures pop in for a chat. So sin...

Narrator Point of View

Andersen's use of Point of View is all over the freakin' place.You want third person? Check out any of his fairy tale-ish stories, such as "The Traveling Companion," which tends toward third person...

Genre

If you thought all 156 of Andersen's tales would be in the same genre, well. You're wrong! Maybe for the first time ever? Heck, some of Andersen's tales don't even belong to recognizable genres, un...

Tone

Andersen's tone varies a lot, from wry ("Little Claus and Big Claus") to earnest ("The Pact of Friendship") to sentimental ("Little Ida's Flowers") to condescending ("The Emperor's New Clothes").It...

Writing Style

So, clearly our dude Andersen's got tonal range. But we also see a bunch of different styles in his tales, simply because there are so darn many of 'em, covering so many different topics: love, rel...

What's Up With the Title?

There's no standard title for Andersen's tales, since they've been published in a bunch of editions and translations over the years. We're using a translation from the original Danish of his comple...

What's Up With the Ending?

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: when you've got a collection of like a gazillion stories, there's no single ending and it can be hard to pick out patterns. Here are a few you'll see r...

Tough-o-Meter

Some of these tales are pretty simple, and could be read to/by kids. Others are more complex, addressing Big Life Questions like what happens after we die and what makes our lives meaningful. Still...

Trivia

Today we know Andersen as a writer of children's stories, but he actually saw himself as a genius and a serious artist… the kids' stuff was only one of many projects he had going on in his Great...

Steaminess Rating

Occasionally, a chaste kiss is exchanged between characters. Years go by and someone has a baby, but we never see the acts leading up to it. So never fear: Andersen writes with innocent readers in...

Allusions

There's like a whale's worth of shout-outs in Andersen's tales. So, we've got some listed below, but if you want a neat supplement to this section, check out the Hans Christian Andersen Center's li...
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