“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 and there all of his troubles started. He was humiliated in many ways and abused 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 relations and this story. People don’t often look at others inner virtues because they base their opinion on somebody’s looks. Everything that is different is wrong and it is hard to function in a world where nobody understands those who are different in some way.
Anderson showed the 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 meadow 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 last roughly a year. The story contains some autobiographical elements.
Time: once upon a time
Place: old ladies house, lake
Finally, the beautiful summer has arrived and the reader can see the woods and the lakes inside the woods. On a sunny meadow, we have a house that can remind us of a fortress. Between the water and the walls is some burdock and in between the burdock is a duck’s nest.
The goose hid her nest from curious people and she sat and sat on her eggs. It was a long and boring job but it was worth it when she heard her ducks coming out of their eggs. At the beginning, they thought that it was a huge world but soon the mother goose explained to them that the view 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. At that moment, an old goose appeared and told the mother goose 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 they love and dedication so she decided to wait for the last egg to open up.
Mother goose 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 goose happy because she knew that turkeys couldn’t swim. Mother goose took her ducklings to the older goose 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 goose many of them started to complain about the ugly duckling. One duck even bit him but the mother goose protected him. Soon other 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 ladies house but they were also expecting for the duck eggs to hatch so he was called unnecessary there. That made him run away again.
A year passed by and the duckling turned into a wonderful swan. He was the most beautiful between the swans. He finally experienced happiness after all those troubles.
Characters: ugly duckling, little ducks, mother goose, 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 a stuck up. He just became happy.
Mother Goose – she loved the ugly duckling no matter what. She was caring and loving towards him and always defended him.
Duck – she was a stuck up and wanted to get rid of the duckling because he was big and ugly.
Hans Christian Andersen Biography
Hans Christian Andersen was born April 2nd, 1805 in Odense. He was born into a poor family. His father was a shoemaker and his mother did not have a job. Even though they did not have much Hans was happy for growing up next to a father who recognized his love for adventures and stories. Since he was a boy his father told him many stories and helped him build a puppet theater.
His life got hard when his father died. His mother had to clean other people’s laundry in order to provide food, shelter and clothes for herself and her son. Even though she wanted to send him to a school to study something he wanted to go into a big city and make something out of himself.
He had only 14 years when he came to Copenhagen. He lived in an attic and worked a lot to make it. He even danced for a short time. When he was 17 he decided to go to school so he sat in school with 12-years old. He even went to a university.
He wrote and studied at the same time. He wrote many fairy tales and “The ugly Duckling” is considered to contain elements of his life. Some of his other famous fairy tales are: “The little Mermaid”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “The Snow Queen”…
He died in Copenhagen August 4th, 1875.
Book reports from Hans Christian Andersen
- 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
- The Ugly Duckling