“The Snow Queen”, analysis of the tale by Hans Christian Andersen (2023)

History of creation

The fairy tale “The Snow Queen” was written in 1844 and published in the collection “New Fairy Tales” (1845). The collection appeared very successfully on December 21, on the eve of Christmas.

Andersen’s romance with Jenny (Yenny) Lind was in full swing. Although it is difficult to call a romantic relationship a novel: Lind called Andersen a brother. The image of the cold singer, who did not reciprocate with Andersen and 10 years after meeting the married composer, according to biographers, laid the foundation for the image of the Snow Queen. On the other hand, ideal brotherly love is reflected in the image of Gerda. Thus, Gerda and the Snow Queen are two hypostases of the beloved who are not united in one person. These are cold kisses of a heartless beauty or cordial friendship without a hint of erotic relationships.

The mythological basis of the image of the Snow Queen

Andersen was very upset by the death of his father. As a boy, he heard his last words: “Here comes the Ice Maiden, and she came to me.” So in the Scandinavian myths winter, cold and death itself were designated – embodied cold numbness. So the Snow Queen is the personal enemy of Andersen who received a childhood injury.

The philosophical basis of the tale

(Video) The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (Summary and Review) - Minute Book Report

Andersen was fond of Schelling’s natural philosophy and philosopher J. Boehme. Boehme’s idea of androgynous man was embodied in the opposition of summer and winter. Kai and Gerda are a single whole, they are inseparable in the warm season. But in winter, everyone is confined in his apartment. This is a metaphor for pre-cultural androgynous man. Then the troll’s mirror, a wounding heart and a changing eye is the influence of a culture that separates man from nature. A person does not see the beauty of nature, roses for Kai are ugly, a person enjoys a game of reason – a product of culture. Andersen sees salvation in Christian values.

Literary direction and genre

Andersen is considered a romantic writer. It is a fairy tale – a genre that enjoyed special love in the era of romanticism. For romantics, the ideal is unattainable. The world is filled with opposites; good and evil, life and death, warmth and cold are embodied in different heroes and never mix. But Andersen in his works interweaves reality and fantasy. The magic mirror of the troll is broken, and the fragments penetrate the world of people. Evil enters the world, crowds out good and mixes with it. The heroes of the tale are completely realistic. Yes, the ravens are talking, and the Snow Queen is flying through the sky, but all the characters are vital. So Andersen, obviously, is at a transitional stage from romanticism to realism.

The genre of the fairy tale “The Snow Queen” is often defined as a fairy tale. This is Andersen’s longest tale, it consists of 7 stories, each of them is a certain picture of the world, a stage in a person’s life.

Theme and main idea

The theme of the tale is the same as in all tales: the victory of good over evil, life over death, summer over winter. The main idea is expressed by a wise finca. She explains to the deer that Gerda’s strength is in her “sweet, innocent baby heart.” But Gerda is so strong that people and animals serve her, not by herself. God lives in her heart, it is God who helps a person to overcome evil and makes the weak strongest. So the main idea is consonant with the wisdom of the gospel: love conquers everything.

(Video) Fables and Folktales: The Snow Queen

Following the ancient Greeks, Andersen analyzes and weighs every kind of love. Eros love is embodied in the image of the Snow Queen. Her symbol is a kiss. The snow queen kisses Kai, making his heart become ice. This is a wonderful image: erotic love in itself, without friendship – devilish passion. Strong love, kindred love, is the beginning of good deeds. You can not treat relatives with neglect. And the little robber loves a dissolute mother, so how much does the grandmother deserve love, which Kai mimics! Gerda goes in search of not a friend, not a groom, but a named brother.

Love-fileo, friendship, is the basis of relationships in a fairy tale. All the fabulous heroes helping Gerda become her friends. The image of this love is embodied in the prince and princess. This is an equal relationship. Of all the suitors, only the future prince was not embarrassed and did not grovel in front of the princess. He emphasized that he did not come to get married, but only to listen to the princess’s clever speeches.

The pinnacle of love is the sacrificial love of agape. So Christ loved man, so only God or a man whose heart is filled with God can love. So loved Kaya Gerda.

The motive of sacrifice is closely connected with the image of Gerda. Her first voluntary sacrifice is the new red shoes that she gives to the river to tell her where Kai is. It is interesting that Gerda remains barefoot, despite the fact that the prince and princess give her warm boots. First, they are selected by a little robber, and then he forgets to give a finca. So the sacrifice must be constant.

The fairy tale also presents forms of perverted love. The selfish love of an old woman who knew how to conjure, restrains Gerda, distracts her from her destiny. The robber’s love for his daughter is blind, and such love makes children unbridled and masterful. Both heroines lose the objects of their perverted love: Gerda runs away, and the little robber sets off to travel.

Christian motifs in a fairy tale

(Video) The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. Forgotten Feminine.

In Soviet translations, Christian motifs were thrown out or veiled. Three times in the tale, a psalm is mentioned that Gerda had learned before her misfortune with Kai:

Roses are blooming … Beauty, beauty!

Soon we will see the baby of Christ.

The meaning of this psalm is incomprehensible, because it is translated incorrectly. It seems that a psalm about the joys of life (and roses bloom, and Christmas happens) or about the Second Coming, or that God’s world is beautiful. But in the original, the psalm is not so carefree: “Roses bloom and wither, but soon we will again see Christmas and the baby of Christ.” This is a psalm about the transience of earthly life, about the death that Christ conquered, about the value of eternal life compared to earthly.

For Gerda, this psalm was a consolation. She chose eternal life as a child. And Kai departed from this Christian foundation, he loved mathematics, tricky fun from the evil one. The next time, Gerd sang a psalm in the palace of the Snow Queen, which made Kai get rid of the evil spell. The tale ends with the matured Kai and Gerda understanding the meaning of the psalm. However, the author does not reveal this meaning to the reader.

Among other Christian motifs is the prayer “Our Father”, with the help of which Gerda defeats the army of the Snow Queen and pacifies the winds. She does not win, but legions of angels fight for her.

(Video) The Snow Queen in English | Stories for Teenagers | @EnglishFairyTales

At the end of the tale, the grandmother reads the Gospel: “If you are not like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Actually, the whole fairy tale is a parable about how to be the soul of children.

In Gerda, even an adult remains childish spontaneity and human weakness, for example, a grown-up little robber patronizingly pats her on the cheek. But this, of course, is not the point. In a fairy tale, children’s hearts and souls are contrasted with a cold crafty mind. The last sentence of the tale is a hidden quote from the Bible: “The favorable summer of the Lord will come.” This is a jubilee year when all Jewish slaves were set free. The victory of Kai and Gerda is a symbol of the victory of the slavish nature of man over sin and death. This is the true idea of ​​a children’s fairy tale.

The plot and composition

The first story of the tale plays the role of exposure. This is the myth of the birth of evil. The second story is a parable about how evil entered the human heart. The following 5 stories – the stages of the fight against evil, the trials that lead to the reunification of man with nature, traditions, God and himself, is the restoration of his integrity. The third story is a test of oblivion in the house of an old woman who knew how to conjure, the fourth is a test of wealth in a castle of a prince and a princess, the fifth is a direct danger to life in a castle of robbers, the sixth is a battle with the army of the Snow Queen (a metaphor for the battle of a Christian with demons). The seventh story culminates in a battle with evil in oneself, and this evil is defeated by God’s love. The latest story also contains the denouement. As befits a fairy tale, good conquers evil.

The plot of “The Snow Queen” resembles the plot of a folk fairy tale, reflecting the ancient rite of initiation – the initiation of a child into adulthood. Andersen shows two types of growing up. Gerda grows up through an appeal to traditions, communication and socialization. Kai denies the values of previous generations, but this way does not allow you to become a full member of society. Kai is as lonely as the Snow Queen. He cannot become an adult without help. Only the love of loved ones can help such a teenager.


What are some symbols in the Snow Queen? ›

Things associated with Gerda in the story are flowers and animals, while the Snow Queen is symbolized by ice and emptiness. The biggest contrast of all in the story is the difference between warm and cold. Warm is seen as good, wholesome, and alive, and cold is equated to evil and death, if only figuratively.

What figurative language is in the Snow Queen? ›

On a figurative level, the Snow Queen represents temptation; she draws Kai away from his childhood, family, and hometown, and if it were not for the love and purity of Gerda, he would have remained subject to said temptation. It is easy, then, to see just how a creative spin on this tale might go.

What is the moral lesson of the story Snow Queen? ›

“The Snow Queen” taught me a valuable lesson: Don't trust anyone unless you are desperate, least of all well-intentioned adults.

What is the analysis of Snow Queen? ›

In fairytale form, The Snow Queen elucidates the true nature of innocence, the pitfalls of our fallenness, and the path into eternity. Hans Christian Andersen's story leads us, with his characters Gerda and Kay, to die to the “sensibility” of the world and to discover the true essence of life.

What is the Snow Queen about short summary? ›

Kai is taken by the Snow Queen who lives in a world of ice and snow, but faithful Gerda is determined to find him and restore her friend to the boy she knows and loves. A host of characters help her along her way, including a bandit, a prince, princess and a Sami woman.

Is the Snow Queen good or evil? ›

Type of Villain

The Snow Queen is the titular main antagonist of Hans Christian Anderson's 1844 Danish fairytale of the same name and its film adaptations, with the exception of Disney's 53rd full-length animated feature film Frozen, though she is portrayed as a villain in some parodies.

What are the 4 figurative language? ›

Authors use similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and personification to make their stories more interesting.

What are the figurative languages used in the story? ›

Fiction writers use figurative language to engage their audience using a more creative tone that provokes thinking and sometimes humor.
Types of Figurative Language
  • Simile. ...
  • Metaphor. ...
  • Hyperbole. ...
  • Personification. ...
  • Synecdoche. ...
  • Onomatopoeia.
Mar 4, 2023

What is a metaphor to describe snow? ›

But back to snow as metaphor, for example: snow is a shawl or blanket. Snow cover insulates life in winter, concealing the seeds and roots that will grow in spring. They are there in frozen ground under snow, waiting. Some life forms wait for what seems like forever.

What is the conflict in the Snow Queen? ›

The story centers on the struggle between good and evil as experienced by Gerda and her friend, Kai. This story is one of Andersen's longest and most beloved stories. It is included in many illustrated storybooks for children to this day.

What does the queen symbolize in Snow White? ›

Envy: The Queen (again). The seven deadly sins have opposites in the seven holy virtues: Humility, Chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness. All of these are characteristics of Snow White. Resurrection: Snow White “dies” and comes back to life.

What story is the Snow Queen based on? ›

FROZEN is an original story, loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's “The Snow Queen.” Published in 1845, “The Snow Queen” begins when a magic mirror created by trolls shatters, causing pieces of it to lodge in the heart and eye of a boy named Kai.

What are the themes of Snow Queen? ›

Essentially, Gerda's love frees Kay from The Snow Queen's palace. The tale involves three main themes: female strength, a unique relationship of good vs. evil, and a realistic, meaningful ending.

What is the relationship between Snow White and the Evil Queen? ›

The Evil Queen is Snow White's evil and vindictive stepmother who is obsessed with being "the fairest in the land". The beautiful young princess Snow White evokes the Queen's sense of envy, so the Queen designs a number of plans to kill Snow White through the use of witchcraft.

What is the overall message of Snow White? ›

The moral of Snow White's story is “Vanity will not take you far, but kindness will”. In this short story, the queen was completely indulged in vanity, which messed with her mind. But kind-hearted Snow White found friends and met a prince that loved her and stood by her.

How did the Snow Queen become blind? ›

The Snow Queen was separated and blinded by Madame Weatherberry by using the remaining strength she had.

What is the purpose of Snow White story? ›

This story teaches children many lessons. One of the most important lessons it teaches is the danger of vanity. The evil queen wants Snow White dead because she cannot accept the fact she is not the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. But it is this vanity that destroys her at the end.

What is the summary of the story Snow White? ›

Who is the villain in the Snow Queen? ›

The Troll (Trolden) or the Devil (Djævlen), who makes an evil mirror that distorts reality and later shatters to infect people with its splinters that distort sight and freeze hearts. Some English translations of "The Snow Queen" translate this character as the "sprite" or the "hobgoblin".

Who is the hero in the Snow Queen? ›

Ellie is the main protagonist of the 1995 animated British film, The Snow Queen and its 1996 sequel, The Snow Queen's Revenge. She is voiced by English actress Ellie Beaven in both films. Ellie becomes embroiled with the Snow Queen when the tyrannical ruler kidnaps her brother Tom.

Does the Snow Queen have a happy ending? ›

But Tae-woong spent a lot of time looking for her after he ran away from home. He worked so hard to get her to forgive him. They were trying to start over again and rebuild their relationship. She was so happy that Tae-woong found the love of his life.

What are the 5 main figure of speech? ›

5 common types of figurative language with examples
  • 1 Simile.
  • 2 Metaphor.
  • 3 Personification.
  • 4 Hyperbole.
  • 5 Allusion.
Jul 1, 2022

What are 3 examples of a simile? ›

Here are a few examples of similes formed using 'as'.
  • As tall as a giraffe.
  • As sweet as sugar.
  • As strong as an ox.
  • As old as the hills.
  • As cool as a cucumber.

What are 5 examples of hyperbole? ›

Examples of Hyperbole
  • I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse.
  • My feet are killing me.
  • That plane ride took forever.
  • This is the best book ever written.
  • I love you to the moon and back.
  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
  • I've told you this 20,000 times.
  • Cry me a river.
May 30, 2021

What is imagery in a story? ›

As human beings, we understand the world through our senses—what we see, what we hear, what we smell, what we taste, and what we touch. To represent this process in their literary works, storytellers and poets use vivid language designed to appeal to these senses. This language is called imagery.

What is the main effect of the author's use of the figurative language? ›

Figurative language makes the story more enjoyable to read while also allowing the reader to have a better understanding of what the author is trying to convey. It does this by injecting emphasis, comparisons, and humor into your writing. It can even play a role in adding musicality and rhythm to a piece of writing.

What is imagery and examples? ›

Literal imagery uses descriptive words that mean exactly what they say. For example: “The grass was green, and the flowers were red.” Figurative imagery uses descriptive language that means something different than or goes beyond the literal definition of the words, often through exaggeration, comparison, or symbolism.

What are 3 famous metaphors? ›

Famous metaphors
  • “The Big Bang.” ...
  • “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. ...
  • “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ...
  • “I am the good shepherd, … and I lay down my life for the sheep.” ...
  • “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.” ...
  • “Chaos is a friend of mine.”

What are metaphors answers? ›

A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn't literally true, but helps explain an idea or make a comparison.

What is the climax of The Snow Queen? ›

Climax – The Breaking Point

At long last, Gerda arrives at the palace of the Snow Queen and sees Kay playing with the ice blocks, but he is completely unaware of her presence. Gerda goes to him and sheds “burning tears” that melt the lump of ice in his heart.

What happens to The Snow Queen at the end? ›

But Ingrid feels no remorse towards ending her life; she is excited to once again be reunited with her sisters. The Snow Queen then uses her own magic to destroy herself, which lifts the curse from Storybooke and return the town to its former state of peace.

Is The Snow Queen evil in The Snow Queen? ›

As for the Snow Queen, she's neither good nor evil, she just is. Her motives for kidnapping Kay are never given, she doesn't treat him badly and she allows him to be rescued by Gerda.

What do the 7 dwarfs symbolize? ›

The seven dwarfs represent Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Light, Shadow, and Magic, although the 'Magic' dwarf is essentially a spirit that just inhabits Snow and enhances her power rather than appearing on its own, with the others appearing in some form to represent their element.

What is the Evil Queen's goal in Snow White? ›

The Evil Queen in both forms from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In the film, similar to the Brothers Grimm story it is based on, the Evil Queen is cold, sadistic, cruel, and extremely vain, owning a magic mirror, and obsessively desiring to remain the "fairest in the land".

What did the Evil Queen want from Snow White? ›

The Evil Queen wanted the most: the most beauty, the most power. She wanted it so badly that she'd change her shape, she'd maim, she'd kill. She understood desire, and embraced it. I, too, have always had insatiable desires.

How does Gerda save Kay? ›

The Snow Queen flies away to warmer countries, deserting Kay. Gerda turns up and recognises Kay instantly despite his changed appearance, but he sits still and cold and unresponsive. Upset, Gerda cries warm tears that drop onto the frozen Kay, and seep through to his heart, thawing it.

What does the Evil Queen say to the mirror? ›

The Magic Mirror belongs to the Evil Queen, who constantly asks it – usually in a rhyming phrase – who is the fairest in the land.

What is the Evil Queen's real name? ›

Queen Grimhilde (Queen Ingrid' in Mirror, Mirror (A Twisted Tale)), more commonly known across popular media as The Evil Queen or simply The Queen, is the main antagonist of Disney's 1st full-length animated feature film Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, which is based on the 1812 German fairytale Snow White by the ...

Why Snow White is the villain? ›

Type of Villain

She debuts in the episode "Operation Mongoose" and is the main antagonist in an alternate universe where the heroes and the villains switch roles. Snow White becomes a villain when Regina tells a secret that has her true love killed. She is portrayed by Ginnifer Goodwin.

What are 2 themes of Snow White? ›

The play, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is an example of a fairy tale. These are characterized by themes of good vs. evil, magic or 'luck' elements, and a basis in an oral tradition.

What is the conflict of the story Snow White? ›

The main conflict in Snow White is the Queen wanting to kill her step-daughter. That is the whole reason Snow White ended up living with the seven dwarfs. The rising action in the movie is when the Queen finds out Snow White is not dead.

What happened to Snow White at the end of the story? ›

Snow White doesn't die properly, she falls into the 'Sleeping Death' until the Prince kissed her. Then he takes her to his castle, which is among clouds probably because it's in the distance.

What are symbols in red queen? ›

The Red Blood symbolizes Mare and the rest of the people with red blood. An upside-down crown symbolizes no power. This cover shows how the reds tried to take away all of the power from the silvers.

What are the major symbols in the poem dust of snow? ›

The dust of snow that the crow shakes off is meant to represent joy and hope. The poet uses “negative” symbols such as the crow and hemlock tree to convey the idea that we can find joy even in seemingly dark things.

What is symbolized by the snow? ›

Winter – A perfect symbol of winter, snow represents the end of the year, and the time of hibernation, death, and darkness. However, snow also represents Christmas, which is a festive time for many. It symbolizes the merriment of the season and wintry games, such as ice skating and skiing.

Why did the Red Queen become evil? ›

One day the Red Queen would have the big and large head who her have now crashed into a statue making her head grows up, her head would become more big and large when she was humiliated incarnation where his father decide to gave the crown to the White Queen making the Red Queen evil and revengeful.

What is the Red Queen a metaphor for? ›

The Red Queen hypothesis was coined in evolutionary biology to explain that a species must adapt and evolve not just for reproductive advantage, but also for survival because competing organisms also are evolving.

What does the Red Queen fear? ›

She has become significantly paranoid, going so far as to execute her husband for fear that he would leave her for her sister.

What does fire and ice symbolize? ›

According to the poet, fire represents human desires and ice represents the hatred among humans. Desires are fiery like fire and can cause destruction by burning. Ice is on the opposite end of the spectrum to fire and is cold. Hatred too is cold like ice and can consume us if not controlled.

What do the Crow and hemlock symbolize? ›

The crow and the hemlock tree represent sorrow. The dust of snow that is shaken off the hemlock tree by the crow stands for joy that Frost experiences. He has, therefore, used an unconventional tree and bird in order to contrast them with joy in the form of snow.

Does dust of snow stand for happiness or depression? ›

The dust of snow is the symbol of natural joy and energy. The dust of snow that the crow shakes off a hemlock tree means passing through the sad and depressing moments, the poet is entering the time full of joy and optimism.

What does snow represent in Christianity? ›

Snow is associated with the forgiveness of sins (Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18); Snow is not to be feared (provided you wear a red snowsuit; Proverbs 31:21, see illustrative photo at right);

What is the purpose of snow? ›

Snow helps insulate the ground below, holding in heat and preventing moisture from evaporating into the atmosphere. Even on top of other frozen material, such as permafrost and river ice or sea ice, snow cover prevents ice from forming as quickly.

What does the color white symbolize? ›

The color white often evokes ideas of purity, simplicity, and cleanliness.


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