The Little Mermaid Comparison

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In both Hans Christian Andersons “The Little Mermaid,” and Disney’s version of the story, the main character— a young and beautiful mermaid— waits anxiously for her fifteenth birthday to venture from her father’s underwater castle to the world above the water. As the story carries on the mermaids priorities change; her modest and selfless nature is revealed towards the end in Andersen’s version. However, Disney’s version encompasses a rather shallow ending and plot throughout. The theme found in comparing the two versions reveal that Andersen’s substance trumps Disney’s entertainment factor in fairy tales. The mermaid in Andersen’s version offers a greater depth of character as opposed to Disney’s mermaid. Anderson writes when introducing…show more content…
In both versions, the mermaid meets the prince and he falls for her beauty, but he’s already betrothed to another. However, Anderson’s mermaid has to endure not only physical, but also mental and emotional hardships. She is unable to communicate with the prince to reveal she was his true savior, and with every step the mermaid experiences agonizing pain. Andersen’s mermaid has to stand by and watch her love marry another and her chance of an immortal soul slips out of her grasp. Soon after the wedding, the mermaid is approached by her sisters with an opportunity to return to the sea, but she would have to commit a terrible, and selfish act. The story goes like this, “Before the sun rises, you must plunge it [a knife] into the heart of the prince; when his blood sprays on your feet, they will turn into a fishtail and you will be a mermaid again” (Andersen). The mermaid faced a difficult dilemma, one that all individuals face—self betterment or selfless sacrifice. Andersen’s mermaid chooses selfless sacrifice, tosses the knife overboard and cast herself into the ocean. This ending is not what most would call happy, but it reveals some remarkable life lessons and an incredible depiction of selflessness. Not all stories have to have happy endings to satisfy a reader (Whitty); this story for example holds so much more depth, substance, and emotion because it does not have one. Disney chose a happier, predictable ending where Ariel marries the prince in the end; this ending makes it easy to smile, but lacks in allowing the reader to develop much more emotion than
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