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Themes

Bored of your run-of-the-mill, Everyone Poops brand of self-celebrating children's stories? Well, Andersen's tales are pretty remarkable in that they dwell on about the darker side of being human: people sin, and darkness often lives in our hearts. Andersen's take on sin is simultaneously pretty standard for a Christian and pretty optimistic. He thinks that all humans are sinners and should live in fear of God, but he also keeps reinforcing the redemptive powers of love and faith. So many of Andersen's characters learn the error of their sinning ways, and finally make it up to heaven when they repent and beg for mercy… even though they know they don't deserve it. Cuz up until now, they've been kinda crappy people.

Questions About Sin

  1. Who do you think is the most sinful character in the tales? Why?
  2. Is Andersen too harsh on his sinful characters? Why or why not?
  3. What are the best ways for sinful characters to dig their way out of sin?
  4. If you had to be friends with one of the sinners in Andersen's tales, who would you pick and why?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Andersen was obsessed with writing about sin because he feared that he was a sinful (hence unlovable) person.

Andersen was optimistic about redemption because, like any good Christian, he, too, wanted to go to heaven.

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