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Final Paper Final Draft - Flinchum 1 Anne Flinchum Mathew...

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Anne Flinchum Mathew Holland Lit Trans 275 14 December 2007 The Afterlife: Heaven or Eternity? People’s beliefs in the variations of the afterlife can be drawn from both religious and non-religious aspects. While some believe in a God and Heaven, others may believe in reincarnation or in a different form of what happens to a human’s soul and body after they have died. There are thousands of stories, each original to their religion, tribe, culture, beliefs, and other factors. Hans Christian Andersen’s story “Moving Day” is an explanation of what happens to humans after they die explained through romantic elements and hidden religious elements. This is significant because it shows Andersen’s indecisiveness toward both religion and death in his tales. In order to analyze “Moving Day” in this way, it is important to know the central theme and elements of the story. In short, the narrator of the story goes to visit an old watchman, named Ole, on “Moving Day” and Ole brings up the issue of “Death’s great moving day” (Andersen, 883). According to Ole, Death “drives the stagecoach for our last journey, writes out our passports, and signs our report cards” (Andersen, 883). He continues to say that all of the deeds we have done throughout our lives are stored in a savings bank and that Death is the one who chooses which of those deeds we take with us into the afterlife for eternity (Andersen, 883). These deeds are called “traveling expenses” and can be either good deeds for a peaceful afterlife, or can be horrible deeds we have done that will remind us of them and taunt us in the afterlife (Andersen, 884). Flinchum 1
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This story’s central theme revolves around death and the fact that the acts we commit during our lives can either reward us or haunt us in the afterlife. This explanation of the journey to and of the afterlife is told using elements of romanticism, which is a popular literary movement during the 19 th story when the story was written. Romanticism is “characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions” (“Romanticism”, 2007). Transcendentalism, which means “beyond the limits of experience,” is also characteristic to romanticism and a tale about death, an event that no human can experience and write about afterward, is therefore able to be classified as romantic (Travers, 26). This shift away from the rational and strict order of classicism provided an environment for Andersen to write an imaginative tale about the abstract concept of death in terms of Death as an actual character who drives a stagecoach to bring people who die to the afterlife. One specific example of romanticism in the story “Moving Day” is how it strives
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course LIT. TRANS 275 taught by Professor Schmit during the Fall '07 term at Wisconsin.

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Final Paper Final Draft - Flinchum 1 Anne Flinchum Mathew...

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