Image of a pair of feet in red ballerina shoes
The Red Shoes

Welcome to Week 6

Last week, we explored how Hans Christian Andersen’s “new fairy tales” transform the fairy tale genre into a modern reflection on religious meaning as well as on the medium of fiction.

This week, we’ll first explore another “new fairy tale”: ‘The Red Shoes’. The text raises questions about the conflict between Christian morality and desire. Different understandings of temptation, sin, punishment and redemption are at stake in a tale which also reflects upon the fascination of images.

This week we will also sum up what we have explored during this course and invite you to write an essay on the topicality and cross-cultural relevance of the fairy tales, we have been studying.

Finally, we will give you some tips on how to engage in further studies of Hans Christian Andersen.

As we go though this week, here are some questions to bear in mind:

  • Do you think that little Karen, the protagonist of ‘The Red Shoes’, is a fairy tale heroine?
  • Would you say that the ending of the fairy tale is satisfactory?
  • To what degree do you think that this fairy tale is modern?

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This article is from the free online course:

Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Andersen Centre