Religious Influences

© 2010, Lily Chang, Tiffany Kwan, Luann Pereira, Amanda Taylor

Hans' had met and worked with many individuals in his life many of whom influenced his works tremendously. For example, Hans Christian Orstead was a scientist who heavily influenced and helped Andersen's maturity towards his knowledge of religious beliefs. Before Hans Christian Andersen met Hans Christian Orstead in the 1820's, Andersen's religious views were not of high priority or present in his writing. In many of Andersen's fairy tales, religious views, specifically of Christianity are evident. In efforts to underline moral values, Hans would use tints of Christian stories and practices into Andersen's fairy tales underlying Christian moral values. Although religious references are not present in all of Hans' works, Christian morals and beliefs were very much alive in the "Little Mermaid". For example, the youngest sister of the six, wanted to live as a human being instead of a mermaid. Through this idea, the little mermaid does not recognize the significance of her own nature and was encouraged, by her elderly kin, to be humble, content and thankful with the life she has been given. Andersen believed that children must demonstrate purity and obedience to the elderly and God's law in order to succeed in life. Since the little mermaid refused to accept the advice of the elderly and appreciate what God had planned for her, Andersen sentenced the mermaid to death in his tale. Religion greatly impacted Andersen's writing in his attempt to share his ideological views and value system to his readership.

Hans was considered a national literary figure in Denmark. He wrote 6 novels, more than 30 plays, volumes of poetry, 5 travelogues, and 156 tales but he is most known for endowing his works with a child like tone mimicking oral tradition of the folktale transforming the contemporary fairy tale and celebrated for his accomplishments.