I have a long friendship with Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” I first met her in elementary school during my Fairy Tale Phase. During this time, my Air Force fighter pilot Daddy was stationed at RAF Lakenheath in England. While we were living there, I had the opportunity to join a British school cruise through Scandinavia with a shipful of other 5th graders. Back then, such parentless trips abroad were quite common in England. 😱 Miraculously, my parents allowed me to go.
We visited Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. As we cruised the fjords, I gawked at the fairy-tale loveliness of the countryside. Andersen’s legends sprang to life amidst this beauty.
In Denmark we visited the great sights of Copenhagen, spending an evening at Tivoli Gardens. My favorite part of the Copenhagen stage of the trip, though, was visiting Edvard Eriksen’s famous statue. Charmed, I posed for a picture with The Little Mermaid. 😍
When my own children were first of Disney movie age, we watched the then-current “Little Mermaid.” I had a vague sense that it was not quite true to the story, but my memories of the original had faded. Because of Andrew Pudewa’s IEW videos, I decided to reread it. The two versions are strikingly different in many aspects.
Later, I created a “Little Mermaid” assignment for Level 2, a comparison essay comparing the print and movie versions of the famous story. It is a great way for the students to exercise their understanding of the elements of literature: characters, setting, conflict, plot, and theme.
After you have enjoyed the original story, take the time to download and listen to one of my favorite Andrew Pudewa lectures, “Fairy Tales and the Moral Imagination.” It only costs $3 to download the file, and you will be so glad you did! (If you don’t have an IEW account, you will have to make one first.)
Warning! This Story Summary Chart is a plot spoiler! Read the story (included in the Story Chart file) before studying the chart!