Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) | Study Guide

Hans Christian Andersen

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Course Hero. "Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) Study Guide." Course Hero. 6 Oct. 2017. Web. 24 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fairy-Tales-of-Hans-Christian-Andersen-Selected/>.

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Course Hero. (2017, October 6). Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fairy-Tales-of-Hans-Christian-Andersen-Selected/

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Course Hero. "Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) Study Guide." October 6, 2017. Accessed September 24, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fairy-Tales-of-Hans-Christian-Andersen-Selected/.

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Course Hero, "Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) Study Guide," October 6, 2017, accessed September 24, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fairy-Tales-of-Hans-Christian-Andersen-Selected/.

Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) | The Fir Tree | Summary

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Summary

Just like an impatient child, the little fir tree in the woods is anxious to quickly grow up to become an impressive, tall tree like the others. Seasons come and go as the fir tree grows, but the pleasures of sun, clouds, and singing birds do not impress him. All he wants is to grow as large and beautiful as possible. The birds tell him when the other trees are cut down, they become the masts of mighty seafaring ships. This sounds like a great adventure to the fir tree until he learns some of them get taken into houses at Christmastime and decorated.

He keeps hoping he is beautiful enough to be chosen as a Christmas tree. Sure enough, one winter he is cut down and taken inside a grand house where he is decorated with every beautiful bit of glitter and tinsel that can fit among his branches. Delighted to be present for all the fun and delight of the children—especially the stories told by the fat storyteller—the fir tree awaits the fun he expects will go on the following night, but in the morning he is taken up into the attic. Left alone there with only mice to trade stories with, the fir tree is unaware his green branches are turning brown. The following spring he is pulled out of the attic and placed in the yard, where the youngest child takes down the tinsel star from the treetop. No one pays the fir tree any attention as they cut him into firewood and set him alight.

Analysis

The impatience of the tree to grow up as tall as possible as quickly as possible is one small children can readily relate to. However, Andersen embeds this longing with the caution children should enjoy the pleasures of being children as long as they can, for all too soon the harsh realities of adult life will be upon them. The tinsel star carried away by the youngest child is a poignant reminder fame and attention are brief illusions set against long periods of being ignored and abandoned.

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