The Ugly Duckling a Fable Written by Christian Andersen

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“The Ugly Duckling” is a fable written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1844. Although it is nearly 200 years old, the story is still one of the most popular retold within modern culture. Hans Christian Andersen lived a childhood of poverty and neglect, raised in his father's shoe shop. He told the critics of his time, that the story reflected his own life and it was the reason he wrote it, he described the story as his “autobiography” (Sklenar, D., n.d.). On a warm, summer day on a farm, a mother duck hatches her eggs and, while most of her ducklings are normal, one duckling is grey, large, and does not fit in with the others. The other ducks and chickens made fun of him. His mother tries to accept him, but realizes that he just does not belong. Because of the teasing and feeling that nobody wanted or loved him, he ran away from the farmyard to find a place where he'll be accepted (Andersen, H. C., 1844). In his search, the ugly duckling encounters an old woman, who shelters him in her cottage, but her cat and her hen make fun of him and he runs away again. He wanders for the entire summer and fall, but no one will accept him. He nearly freezes in an icy pond when he is rescued by a farmer, but he is scared and runs away. By the end of winter, he is amazingly still alive. He comes to a pond where beautiful white swans are swimming and he is drawn to their beauty. He decides to approach them as he thought it would be better to be killed by such beautiful birds than to live a life of ugliness and misery. To his surprise, the beautiful creatures welcome and accept him. He gazes at his reflection in the water to see that he too is a beautiful swan (Andersen, H. C., 1844). The duckling wished to be as beautiful as a swan, but what h... ... middle of paper ... ...ransmitted from one generation to another through collective unconscious (Janaro, R. P., & Altshuler, T. C., 2012). The archetype of the ugly duckling is known as an underdog. The underdog is the character who seems always at a disadvantage. The ugly duckling, for example, was singled out for all of the wrong reasons. By the end of the story, the ugly duckling pushed through hardship and won respect. This archetype works best when the reader can relate to the underdog character (Janaro, R. P., & Altshuler, T. C., 2012). On the surface, “The Ugly Duckling” is a story of drawn from Hans Christian Andersen’s life and how he himself felt while facing his life challenges. But, in reality, the readers can relate to the hardships the duckling endured. Also, by having patience for the future and better things to come, we too will realize the beauty of what we can become.

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