dara's Reviews > The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen
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Dec 08, 08

bookshelves: read-in-2008, reviewed
Recommended for: small children who should realize at an early age that not even fairy tales are all happy endings
Read in December, 2008, read count: 1

The Little Mermaid is a short, rather sad story of sacrificing for love. After saving a prince from drowning, the little mermaid falls in love so deeply that she wishes to become human desperately enough to make a deal with the sea witch. She is told that if she fails to capture the prince's heart, then on the morning after he is married to another, she will turn into sea foam. Not only does she lose her voice to the sea witch in exchange for legs, but every step she makes is excruciatingly painful. She doesn't "lose" her voice so much as the sea witch cuts her tongue out. Anyone who has read even a few original classic fairy tales realizes that these stories aren't necessarily suitable for all children. The true morbid nature of the sugared, watered-down versions I was told as a child rather fascinates me as an adult.

Before reading this I was already aware that Disney had altered it extremely (which Disney has a tendency to do to the original stories in favor of happy endings). I had also watched an animated version of the story titled Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid, in which the little mermaid is a blond named Marina whose best friend is a dolphin named Fritz; while truer to the original story than its Disney counterpart (especially in regards to the ending) there are still large differences. In the original story, there is no lovable sidekick of any variety. The little mermaid herself is given no name. She does not disobey her father to go to the surface, but instead waits until she is deemed old enough. The original story is rather bare in comparison (yet well written), although it allows for a more hopeful ending--one in which the little mermaid has the possibility of gaining an eternal soul.
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12/07/2008 page 27
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