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The motif Easter in HCA : The Wind Tells about Valdemar Daae and His Daughters (1859)
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The motif Easter in HCA : The Wind Tells about Valdemar Daae and His Daughters (1859)

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Keywords:

Feast, festival, life, death, spring

Description of this motif: The Jewish Easter, pesach, is celebrated in memory of the exodus. Easter is also rooted in a traditional spring feast, celebrating the barley harvest and the cattle. In Christianity Easter ia a feast in the memory of Jesus' death and resurrection, which took place during the Easter feast in Jerusalem according to the gospels. (Gads Religionsleksikon, 1999)

Example 1:

'After winter comes the spring,' he said, 'and after troubles come the good times; we have only to wait, wait! Now the mansion is mortgaged! Now it is high time indeed – and so we shall have gold! By Easter!'

(...)

Then Easter morning came, and the bells rang and the sun shone in the heavens.(...)

Comment on this quote: Valdemar Daae attempts to create gold through alchemy. His greed has darkened his mind. His hope for succes is an illusion.

Example 2:

"It was another Easter morning, bright as that morning when Valdemar Daae thought he had found the gold. Among those tumbledown walls beneath the stork's nest I could hear a faint voice chanting a psalm. It was Anna Dorothea's last hymn.

"There was no window with glass, only a hole in the wall; but the sun set itself there like a lump of gold, and as she gazed on its glory her heart broke and her eyes grew fixed. The stork had given her shelter to the day of her death. I sang at her funeral," said the Wind, "as I had sung at her father's; I know where his grave is, and her grave, but no one else knows.

"Now there are new times, changed times. The old highway is lost in the fields, old cemeteries have been made into new roads, and soon the steam engine, with its row of cars, will come to rush over the forgotten graves of unknown ancestors. Whew, whew, whew! On, on!

Comment on this quote:

The moment, when the sun shines through the hole in the wall at he last of Valdemar Daae's daughters, is a repetition of the the moment, when the wind blew at the spark in the glass containing his alchemic product, his unsucceeded attempt at creating gold on a former Easter morning. That wasn't gold either. Ide has proved to be the one with the purest heart in her family, and the sunshine may be interpreted as a salute, a thank for her goodness – it is hard to remain optimistic, though, because it is a repetition of a past illusion, and because it is told that

the sun set itself there like a lump of gold

Additionally, in the Danish original, it is said that she would have died anyway, if the sun hadn't shone on her.

Optimism and Easter faith are blown away by the narrator of this nihilistic story, the wind.

One may object, though, that dying in shining or burning moments is a central motif in Andersen's oeuvre, where it means not the end of existence, but transformation, transition to another kind of life, a resurrection like the little mermaid's.

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