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The motif To die and go to heaven in HCA : The Comet (1869)
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The Hans Christian Andersen Center

The motif To die and go to heaven in HCA : The Comet (1869)

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Religious motifs : Overview. Search. About religious motifs

See also Belief in reunion with the dead, Intermediate state, Resurrection, The concept of the soul's account of good and evil being settled after death, Transformation

Keywords:

Death, faith, bliss, life, soul, mercy, angel

Example :

Now the melodies of his first ball were playing, for the minuet and molinasky – soft melancholy tunes that brought tears to the old man's eyes. A roaring war-march, then a psalm, then happy tunes. The years whirled past as if they were those bubbles he blew when he was a little boy.

His eyes were turned towards the window. A cloud billowed across the sky, and as it passed he saw the comet with its shining nucleus and its shining, misty veil. It seemed to him as though it were only yesterday evening when he had last seen that comet, yet a whole busy lifetime lay between that evening and this. Then he was a child, looking through bubbles into the future; now those bright bubbles were all behind him. Once more he had a child's outlook and a child's faith. His eyes sparkled, and his hands struck the keys. There was the sound of a breaking string.

"Come out and see," cried his neighbors. "The comet is here, and the sky is clear. Come out and look!"

The old schoolmaster did not answer. He had gone where he could see more clearly. His soul was on a journey far greater than the comet's, and the realm to which it went was far more spacious than that in which the comet moved.

Again the comet was seen from the high castle and from the lowly hut. The crowd in the street gazed up at it, and so did the man who went his solitary way across the pathless heath. But the schoolmaster's soul was seen by God, and by those dear ones who had gone before him, and whom he longed to see.

Comment on this quote: "The Comet" tells about a life, from childhood till death. The Comet frames both the tale and the main character's life. When he was a child, he saw the comet, and now it was here again, when he was an old man. The clock of the universe has made a single stroke, and a lifetime has passed. The man's life story is condensed into a moment in his memory: his life passes review in his mind just before he dies; a recurring motif in the pictures of death in Andersen's oeuvre. The heavenward flight of the soul breaks the circle or frame of time, the comet has delineated, as an arrow going upward.
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