Hans Christian Anderson has a unique style to his writing that is very judgmental and christian based while still standing apart from other christian folk and fairy tale. In his tale “The Little Mermaid”, he teaches children the importance of being baptized and giving their life to Jesus, by the children of the sky teaching the little mermaid how to achieve and immortal soul. He also teaches them the christian value of sacrifice, where the little mermaid must sacrifice her tongue for legs, her sisters must sacrifice their hair for their sister and then the little mermaid must sacrifice her own life for the prince's. All these Christian metaphors have been hit by fairy tales and folk tales in the past, but rarely so glaringly.
Anderson also takes an odd twist on Christianity in that he incorporates many non-christian motifs in his work. Mermaids themselves, for example, are not traditionally christian being, but Anderson adapts them for his christian narrative. He does an interesting integration of the two by having the mermaids long to be human, where a core belief in Christianity is that humans are the center of the universe and created long before other creatures. Most other mermaid tales the mermaids are out to kill humans, or live in a world outside humans, but in Anderson's not only are they in the same Christian world as humans, but they realize how subversive their species is the human race.
|An artistic rendering of Anderson's The Little Mermaid|
Another interesting characteristic of Anderson's tales is that, for the most part, they do not contain a particular villain. Contrary to Walt Disney's version of the little mermaid, the sea witch of Anderson's mermaid is actually not portrayed and an evil character, but rather as a necessary balancing force. This is actually an interesting way to portray christian values, where no creatures are inherently evil, they are just good creatures influence by the devil. In many other tales, the direct implication is the one of the characters are the devils themselves, but rather Anderson takes a more creative, more stylistic approach in which the devil has influence, but does not show himself.