(8/21/03 10:23 am)
the tinder box|
My name is Patrick, Im new to this board,
found it by accident after searching for
information about "the tinder box" by hans
christian andersen. I am currently quite
fascinated with this story.. It seems so abstract
compared to other folk tales. I wondered
wether any of you have an opinion
on the moral or message of this story.
I write songs, and have been ultra influenced
and turned on by Angela Carter, I like
the way she feeds an story through her
own experience and language..
I suppose I am kind of doing the same with the tinder
box now.. I have a very sad song written, but
It still lacks some central emotion to the lyrics,
because I am still quite puzzled as to the
emotion of the story.... So any ideas or discussions
would be much appreciated....
(8/22/03 1:03 am)
Re: the tinder box|
The Tinderbox *is* a strange story. It's surprisingly brutal, in some respects, in that the soldier cheerfully goes around chopping off the heads and setting his dog upon those who get in his way (the witch, and the king and queen, respectively), and yet wins out in the end. I've always been quite fond of the image of those dogs, with their big, big eyes.
The Tinderbox is one of the very first fairy tales that Hans Christian Andersen ever wrote. He was in his late 20s at the time, as I recall, and it was inspired by a Danish tale called The Spirit of the Candle. Jackie Wullschlager, in her terrific biography of Andersen ("Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller"), says: "It is a confident, young man's tale--jaunty, brisk, and exhilerating. It celebrates youth over age and it has the energy and hope and satisfaction of a traditional folktale--Aladdin, Puss in Boots, Jack in the Beanstalk--whose young hero overcomes adversity and ends a contented, successful adult....For Andersen, the fairy tale was a form in which he could express forbidden emotions and thoughts without, as it were, being caught. It's no accident that of the first three folktales he chose to adapt, two are fantasies of social revenge...." She's referring to the fact that Andersen grew up poor and uneducated, and was subject to many slights and humilations as he climbed his way to fame and wealth.
There's an article on HC Andersen on the Endicott Studio site, if
you're interested: www.endicott-studio.com/jMA03Summer/index.html
Greg Frost wrote a wonderful modern version of the tale called "Sparks," published in the anthology Black Swan, White Raven. Greg, if you're around right now, what's your take on this peculiar little tale?
(8/22/03 2:51 am)
Thankyou so much!
I suppose I see why I have been drawn to it..
The ruthless hero aspect really reminds me of
A Joseph Campbell "follow your bliss" Quest.
I think, In a sense, the soldier in The Tinderbox
has a very similar story to Theseus.. I am always
confused as to Theseus just *forgetting* to
change his sail to White, and leaving the love
that saved him on a solitary island..
Joseph Campbell is always writing about
'the hero trip' which seems to be very much about
a selfish quest for bliss and content, Which
I suppose is the element that creates Legends and
Heroes. It is definately the way he cuts off the witches head,
sends out a dog to bring the princess (almost stealing the princess in her sleep) to his room and his general bravado
that fascinates me, especially as he ends up "happily ever after". I often wonder wether, Anderson felt the need to give stories a happy ending, the story almost seems to lean towards a gruesome ending on the gallows.. Or is that just me?