I really enjoyed reading about Hans Christian Andersen’s life. It’s inspiring that Hans Christian Andersen was able to achieve so much given his humble beginnings – I think it’s especially admirable how hard he worked and that he never gave up on his dreams despite the obstacles and struggles.
I also found it interesting that the biography tied some of the stories into Hans’s life. It’s a little bit heartbreaking though to discover that The Little Mermaid’s lack of complete acceptance was based on the author’s life – however, I think this may be one of the aspects that adds realism to Andersen’s fairy tales. After all, the real world and the people in it are not always kind or accepting.
It’s also sad that Andersen was never able to fully fit into the Collin family and upper-class society. This isn’t really surprising, but I can certainly sympathize with Andersen – despite his brilliance, he was never ‘good enough’ to be fully accepted by elite society and I imagine that wasn’t easy for him.
I also particularly liked reading about the reception that Andersen’s tales received in his lifetime. Today, we mainly know them as classics, so it was really interesting to discover what readers thought of them initially, as well as to learn about Andersen’s interactions with other writers of the time. I thought it was especially relevant to our class that Hans Christian Andersen became friendly with the Grimm Brothers and their folklore group. I can’t help but wonder what such a group might have talked about, or if these writers may have directly influenced each other somehow.