The Ugly Duckling book report - detailed analysis, book summary, literary elements, character analysis, Hans Christian Andersen biography and everything necessary for active class participation.
The Ugly Duckling is a story about the troubles and sufferings of a young swan that got hatched from an egg in a duck's nest. He was marked as different when all of his troubles started. He was humiliated and abused in many ways which ended up with him not trusting himself. He thought that he was worthless and he left the ducks.
There is an obvious link between the people's relations and this story. People don't often look at others' inner virtues because they base their opinion on somebody's looks. Everything different is wrong and it is hard to function in a world where nobody understands those who are different in some way.
Anderson showed rejection from others in different ways. Here he shows it off through the behavior of the ducks towards the swan.
The plot is set near a house surrounded by meadows and lakes. There is a small house with a grandma, chickens, and a cat living in it and there we get introduced into the duckling's childhood. All of it lasted roughly a year. The story contains some autobiographical elements.
Other book reports
- The Brave Tin Soldier
- The Emperor's New Clothes
- The Little Match Girl
- The Little Mermaid
- The Nightingale
- The Princess and the Pea
- The Snow Queen
- The Swineherd
Setting: a pond and an old lady's house, once upon a time
Point of view: third-person; ugly duckling's point of view
Narrator: the author
Tone: sad, depressing, joyful
Mood: at first depressed and later happier
Theme: duckling who is ridiculed and avoided by all other animals, because of its ugly appearance
Finally, the beautiful summer has arrived and the author describes the woods and the lakes inside the woods. On a sunny meadow, there is a house that reminds of a fortress. Between the water and the walls is some burdock and in between the burdock is a duck's nest.
The duck hid her nest from curious people and she sat on her eggs for a long time now. It was a boring job but it was worth it when she heard her ducklings coming out of their eggs. In the beginning, they thought that it was a huge world but soon the mother duck explained to them that what they saw in front of them wasn't the whole world.
All of the ducks hatched but one egg stayed still and it was the biggest one.
"One egg is not hatched yet," said the duck, "it will not break. But just look at all the others, are they not the prettiest little ducklings you ever saw? They are the image of their father, who is so unkind, he never comes to see."
At that moment, an old duck appeared and told the mother duck that the biggest egg was a turkey egg and that she should leave it because little turkeys only cause trouble. Mothers are well known for their love and dedication so she decided to wait for the last egg to open up.
Mother duck was surprised that the duck in the egg was young but very ugly. Despite that, the duck entered the water and started swimming. That made mother duck happy because she knew that turkeys couldn't swim. Mother duck took her ducklings to the older duck because they had to bow down to her to get their highest honor which is a red patch tied around the leg. It was a sign that the ducks did not want to lose their new member and it made them stand out between the animals and the plants.
While the little ducklings were approaching the old duck, many of them started to complain about the ugly duckling. One duck even bit him but the mother duck protected him. Soon others started to pick on him and not only the ducks but also the chickens and the turkeys. The duckling did not have it easy and as the days passed by it got harder. They even started calling him a freak.
The ugly duckling finally stepped up and decided to run away from the humiliation and the sufferings. Soon he realized that loneliness wasn't easy either. He got hungry, thirsty and soon he confronted some hunters and their dogs. He spent some time at an old lady's house but they were also expecting the duck eggs to hatch so he was called unnecessary there. That made him run away again.
"I believe I must go out into the world again," said the duckling.
"Yes, do," said the hen. So the duckling left the cottage, and soon found water on which it could swim and dive, but was avoided by all other animals, because of its ugly appearance.
When the year and the time of childhood passed, and the duckling finally grew up, he grew into a beautiful swan, the most beautiful in the whole flock of swans.
"But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan. To be born in a duck's nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan's egg. He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him; for the great swans swam round the new-comer, and stroked his neck with their beaks, as a welcome."
He finally met happiness after all the problems and he knew how to appreciate the beautiful moments that fate finally gave him.
Characters: ugly duckling, little ducks, mother duck, cat, chickens, other ducks, swans
The Ugly Duckling - he is the main character. He was born ugly and everybody was scared of him. He felt lonely because he had no friends and he felt scared, rejected, unloved, and misunderstood. When he saw the swans he was amazed by their beauty but he did not envy them. He just wanted to be around somebody who understood him and when he turned into a swan he did not become stuck up. He just became happy.
Mother Duck- she loved the ugly duckling no matter what. She was very caring and defended him when other ducks attacked him with ugly words. She had been trying to protect him since the day he was born. Even when she saw that her offspring were different, she did not reject him. Still, she immediately worried about how the environment would react to him. Her problem was not that she had a different child, but she suffered that that child would have to suffer through life because it didn't look as expected. She tried to help him in his struggle through life but still failed to fully protect him.
Other animals - the environment (other animals) in which the little duck grew up can be defined as a character because it mostly acts collectively and has some special characteristics. Other animals are prone to condemning and harassing anything that is different, especially if it is ugly. They're vicious and evil because they try to preserve the form as it is, and everything else changes that form. They treat the ugly duckling as if it is wrong to be what he is. Instead of making it easier for him, they made his condition even more difficult. Not only are they rude to the duckling, but they are also violent. They separated him from his mother and sentenced him to live in solitude and loneliness. The environment accepted the ugly duckling only when it became a beautiful swan. We can say that this is the only villain in this story.
Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense on April 2, 1805 in a one-room house (today: Hans Christian Andersen Museum) at Hans Jensens Stræde 43 - 45 and lived there for a short time from 1805 to 1807. In 1807, Hans Christian and his family moved to another house, in Munkemøllestræde 3-5 in Odense, where he lived from 1807 to 1819 and where he spent his childhood.
When he was 11, his father died and he was practically left alone. He only went to school at intervals and spent most of his time reading stories, not the lessons he learned in school. As he remembered everything very easily, he learned some lessons by listening to a boy neighbor who had a habit of learning aloud. He remembered and recited plays to anyone who would listen to and imitate ballet dancers, acrobats, or pantomimists.
To put an end to this, his mother took him first to a weaver, then to a tobacconist, and finally to a tailor to make him gain knowledge as a craftsman. Hans Christian knew these jobs were not for him. The only things he was interested in were theater, books, and stories. When he was 14, he decided to go to Copenhagen.
Three bitter years of poverty followed. Hans Christian made very little money singing in the boys' choir at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen until his voice changed. He tried to act and join ballet, but his clumsiness prevented him from advancing in this career. He tried to work with his hands, but he couldn't do it either. All he could do was go home and admit defeat.
Finally, when he was 17, Andersen caught the attention of Chancellor Jonas Collins, director of the Royal Theater in Copenhagen. Collin read Andersen's play and saw that he had talent. He got money from King Frederick VI for education and was sent to a school near Copenhagen. First in Slagels, and later in Elsinore (Helsingør). His teacher Meisling, an embittered man, treated him rudely, mocking him for his ambition to become a writer. Finally, Collin took responsibility for the young Andersen and arranged for him to study with a private teacher in Copenhagen. In 1828, at the age of 23, Andersen passed the entrance examinations at the University of Copenhagen.
Andersen's writings began to be published in Danish in 1829. In 1833 the king gave him financial aid for travel and so Andersen spent 16 months wandering Germany, France, Switzerland, and beloved Italy. He wrote poems, plays, novels, and travel impressions. In the period from 1831 to 1873, he was on 30 trips to other countries.
In 1835, he published "Fairy Tales for Children" with four short stories, and those who read the stories wanted more, so Andersen published 168 or 169 fairy tales. He wrote the stories just the way he would tell them. Although he never married and had no children of his own, he was the best at interpreting the nature of children.
Hans Christian Andersen died on August 4, 1875.