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The motif Pious humility and gratitude in HCA : Sunshine Stories (1869)
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The Hans Christian Andersen Center

The motif Pious humility and gratitude in HCA : Sunshine Stories (1869)

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Description of this motif:

Humility is in Andersen's writings almost always connected with persons' being world-oriented, thus often also against its creator, God, or being self-centered. Self-satisfied and self-sufficient characters are often exposed in Andersen' oeuvre. Their charateristics are pettiness, intolerance, a narrow mind, insensibility, being ungratified, because the world seems cruel and unjust and doesn't give them enough, and arrogant pride. The proud and self-sufficient persons thinks that all that is good comes from him-/herself. The humble sees the world around her and her own conditions as sent from God. The humble is satisfied with the facts of life and even thanks (God) for everything.

The rose in "The Snail and the Rosebush" is, in contradiction to the snail, a pious grateful and extrovert type, giving its best to the world. "The Snail and the Rosebush" is a textbook example of the motif and is in addition extraordinary, because God isn't mentioned explicitly as the source of the gifts of life.

Example :

The Wind blew again, and the Sunshine said: "The swan of fortune flew over the deep gulf, where fishermen spread their nets. The poorest of the fishermen thought of getting married, and marry he did. And to him the swan brought a lump of amber. Amber has the power to draw things to it, and it drew the hearts to the fisherman's home. Amber makes the most wonderful incense, and there came a fragrant air as from a church, like a balmy breeze from God's nature. So the fisherman and his bride were happy and thankful in their quiet home. They were content with what little they had, and their life became a complete sunshine story."

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