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Andersen's Heaven

             Many of Andersen's tales are dim, hard, and painful to the heart to read. People are often cruel and unfeeling. Love can be torturous in his tales. The lives of the characters are difficult and they suffer a great deal. There is often a happy ending, but it's not "Disney" happy. Characters are rewarded for goodness in their hearts, but only after they manage (often through death) to rise above their problems in the world. "The Little Mermaid," "The Match Girl," and "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" are prime examples of Andersen's stories whose characters overcome the hardships in their lives. All of the main characters in these tales eventually make it to "heaven," as Andersen would define it in his imaginary world of fairytales.
             In "The Little Mermaid," the little mermaid herself yearns for an immortal soul and the love of a handsome prince. She will do anything to become human and the wife of the prince's dreams. To reach her dreams of becoming spending her life on shore, she cuts out her tongue for payment to the Sea Witch. The prince remembers the beautiful mermaid who saves his life, and how sweet her voice was. Thinking that the little mermaid cannot be the same girl that saved him, he refuses to fall in love with her and by doing this, does not give the relationship a fair chance. The mermaid is then destined to die because she did not complete the deal that she made with the Sea Witch. The mermaid's only option to save her own life is to kill the prince. She refuses to do so because she still loves him. Sadly the mermaid dies with a broken heart and unrequited love.
             The only saving grace is that she becomes a "daughter of air," after another deal is made. By being a "daughter of air," she is allowed to help others, by doing good deeds for the next three hundred years, and then will attain her immortal soul in heaven. .
             Similarly, to the Little Mermaid, the Little Match Girl dreams of a different and better life.

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