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Lecture 10

HUMA 2680 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Red Riding

Course Code
HUMA 2680
April Sharkey

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Early Times: Children’s Literature
AP/HUMA 2680
November 21st 2013
Hans Andersen was not only a writer but he was also a performer.
Andersen writes these stories himself – there are no adaptations or different versions like
Cinderella or Red Riding Hood.
What makes Andersen’s stories different from what we’ve read before?
His language is different – his characters are given a sense of personality. In fairytales
many characters are just names (evil step mother, step sister) – however Andersen gives
characteristics and personality to his characters which gives a sense of who these people
are as individuals.
He uses inanimate objects and gives them a sense of life. Some of his stories are ONLY
about inanimate objects coming to life (characters like China objects, Tin soldier, Paper
He even uses animals in a very different way in comparison to other stories by giving
them characteristics (ugly duckling is a well defined character rather than the birds in one
version of Cinderella).
Folktales serve a different kind of purpose depending on the authors.
Andersen’s stories come out of his own experiences, they are very much part of his own
His stories have a lot of exploration of power dynamics (who can marry who, who can
have the final say, who is important)
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In Cinderella, despite all the odds Cinderella always ended up with the Prince. However,
in Andersen’s work there are no happy endings sometimes.
Andersen is trying to get us to see something “human” in his non-human characters
The Little Mermaid has no name in Andersens story but she still has a distinctive
character that makes us understand her character.
In most Fairytales, things usually happen in threes.
Andersen was a very conflicted person and one can see conflict in his stories too.
Ugly duckling was bullied and isolated and yet he gets an unbelievable reward at the end
for being who he is. He was always a swan. The story celebrates difference and how there
is nothing bad about being different.
Andersen using poetry, songs, and different kinds of elements of art in his stories.
Andersen’s settings take place in totally different spaces and he gives a lot of importance
to the smallest details.
Cinderella stories are about how you should conform to get rewarded – well Andersen
suggests that being obedient doesn’t get you nothing but bullying so conformity is not the
solution every time.
Cinderella is a story for girls but Andersen’s stories are not directed to specific genders
most of the times – they have strong female characters, strong male characters. They do
not focus on the individual listener in the same way.
Jack and the Beanstalk is a story for boys and Cinderella is for girls.
Andersen’s tales are very different from the folk and fairytales read earlier.
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find more resources at
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