The Snow Man (Fairy Tale Fridays)

Welcome back to Fairy Tale Fridays, a meme hosted by Tif of Tif Talks Books.  This week, with winter - and plenty of snow - upon those in my region of the United States, we're looking at the story The Snow Man by Hans Christian Andersen.

This story is a little strange in that it doesn't have a clear cut theme or moral running through it.  In the most basic sense, it is just a fanciful story about the goings-on of a snow man and the things he does, thinks, and says.  The reader is told very little about the building and the genesis of the snowman's life.  He simply appears fully anthropomorphic at the start of the tale with the line,

"It is so delightfully cold,” said the Snow Man, “that it makes my whole body crackle. This is just the kind of wind to blow life into one."
This seems to set the icy creation up as the hero of the tale but he never quite becomes a protagonist to relate to, as he is more or less confused and bumbling, taking all his cues and information about the world around him from the other main character, the dog.  

In fact, the dog goes so far as to explain to the snowman about the miraculous thing known as the stove.  Peering through a window, the snowman catches sight of the stove and amusingly falls in love with the object.  The reader knows that this romantic infatuation is doomed from the beginning but nevertheless the snowman peers longingly through the window throughout his brief life.

The story ends predictably with our hero melting away.  I wonder if perhaps, Andersen's main point of this tale is the transient nature of life.  We're all born and we all die, but it is what happens between those two events that really defines each one of us.  I could extrapolate on this to say that the snowman had a more interesting and unique life because he decided to love the stove.  Andersen could very well be saying that we all are like the snowman and our brief lives are enriched by the decision to love others.

Or it could just be a fanciful little story based on the question of what would a snowman do and say and think, if in fact a snowman could do and say and think.

What are your thoughts on this wintery fairy tale?  Feel free to comment here or join in with your own Fairy Tale Fridays post and link up over on Tif Talks Books!

3 Response to "The Snow Man (Fairy Tale Fridays)"

  1. Tif Sweeney says:
    December 10, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    Hmmm . . . very interesting thoughts! I didn't really think about the moral being about how we live our life. This really gets me thinking about the story in a new light! :)

  2. Anonymous Says:
    December 13, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    The problem is that I don't know if his life was enriched by loving the stove. It made him oblivious to all the other wonders around him.

  3. Casey (The Bookish Type) says:
    December 20, 2010 at 12:21 AM

    Haha this sounds very interesting! Perhaps the moral is that love dooms us all ;-)

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