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Petak, 20 Avgust 2021 11:14

The Ugly Duckling is a reflection of Hans Christian Andersen's life Istaknut

The Ugly Duckling Illustration by Vilhelm Pedersen The Ugly Duckling Illustration by Vilhelm Pedersen

One of his best fairy tales The Ugly Duckling Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen first conceived in 1842 while enjoying the beauty of nature in the country estate of Bregentved and lavished a year's worth of attention upon it. The first tale's title was The Young Swans but he didn't want to spoil the element of surprise in the protagonist's transformation and discarded it for The Ugly Duckling. The fairy tale was first published in 1843 in Copenhagen and quickly experienced great success with audiences and critics, and Andersen enjoyed literary fame from the mid-1830s. It is considered to be his autobiographical work because he was also an ugly and poor child. Andersen told critic Georg Brandes in an interview that his autobiography had already been written in the fairy tale The Ugly Duckling, which is also a "reflection of his life". In the end, the fairy tale The Ugly Duckling and its author Andersen experienced a happy ending.

The fairy tale The Ugly Duckling describes the troubles and sufferings of a young swan that mistakenly hatched from a duck's nest. When the ducklings hatched, only the largest egg remained unhatched. But, since this egg also hatched, the mother duck was surprised, because she didn't expect to get a big and ugly duckling. Right at the beginning, this duckling is marked as different and there all of his troubles begin. The duckling wasn't pleasant, because everyone was bad towards him, making fun of him, attacking and insulting him, and his brothers considered him a freak. He thought that he was unloved and humiliated in many ways and abused. Because of that he stepped up and decided to run away. Soon he realized that loneliness wasn't easy either. He got hungry, thirsty, close to death when froze in the snow and he confronted some hunters and their dogs. He spent some time at an old lady's house but they were also expecting for the duck eggs to hatch and he was called unnecessary there. That made him run away again. A year passed by and the duckling turned into the most beautiful between the whole flock of swans and finds his true place in the world. He finally experienced happiness after all those troubles.

Although the fairy tale The Ugly Duckling features an animal main character, this is a story about humans. People don't often look at other's inner virtues because they base their opinion on somebody's looks. The fairy tale can be seen as a metaphor for the hardships faced during the stages of growth when going from being a child to being an adolescent. It shows that one must be accepting of one's differences, even if one doesn't fit in with a group. Also, it carries the timeless message one should not judge others by appearances.

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