Into the Mind of Hans Christian Andersen
“Hans Christian Andersen was a product of two towns, two social environments, two worlds and two ages.” Said Johan de Mylius. Andersen was born on April 2, 1805 in Odense, Denmark. The only child to a poor shoe maker and a washerwoman, Andersen experienced the lower quality of life. As a young child he would roam the local town. He would often visit the home for the elderly in Odense where the old women would tell him aged stories and legends they were told when they were children themselves. These stories are believed to have attributed to his creative imagination and gift for writing children stories. In 1812 Hans’ father took him to the local theatre for the first time, and he was infatuated with the “hustle and bustle” of the theatre world. Since Andersen was so close to his father, when he died in 1816, abruptly, it crushed him. Later on, after Andersen’s mother remarried, he decided to leave his home and go travel with the theatre actors and actresses. He is taken in by the theatre manager who legally adopts him and sent him to a school for creative arts. It was here that he experienced loneliness and regret of leaving his mother which led to his first works, which was followed by some of the most famous children stories of all time. This was the start to a legacy that would never die out even to this day. Throughout Hans Christian Andersen’s life, he consistently wrote works that have continued to remain popular through time.
Andersen’s long career came to be while he was studying at a creative arts school the theatre manager sent him to in Slagelse. While at school Hans experienced severe depression and expressed this through his very first literary work ever, a poem called “The Dying Child.” The poem is a clear cry for help and longing for his mother who is now believed to be deceased:
“Mother I am so tired, I want to sleep now;
Let me fall asleep and feel you near,
Please don’t cry—there there now, you’ll promise, wont you?
On my face I felt your burning tear.
Here’s so cold and the winds outside are frightening...”
Similar to this poem, Andersen’s earliest works were often inspired by sadness. For example later while still in school, he wrote “The Tallow Candle” a short story about a candle who does not feel appreciated. This story was believed to be his first attempt at prose. This story was special because it was one of the first stories where inanimate objects came to life and showed the ability to possess emotion and feelings. People were fascinated because this had never been done before and it lit a whole new path for children’s literature. Also in 1829 Andersen had some success with a short story called A Journey on Foot from Holmen’s Canal to the East Point of Amager. In which the main character meets fanatical characters from St.Peter to a talking cat.
Throughout Andersen’s long career he wrote over 1,000 poems. Although he wasn’t ever really recognized for his poetry he still...