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The Red Shoe Character Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sheri8503
Words 783
Pages 4
Bisola Adeogun
M Livingston
English 2110
16 April 2013
Character Analysis of The Red Shoes
In Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale The Red Shoes he conjures up a deeply complex character that possesses both unsympathetic and benevolent qualities. Similar to other characters in Anderson’s work such as, The Match Girl and The Little Mermaid; the character of Karen evolves through the help of a physical transformation. Karen’s physical transformation helps change her from a vain and obsessive character to a person who is redemptive. I will display these characteristics by creating a Facebook page using modern culture and the current media to help analyze the evolution of Karen.
In the beginning of the story although Karen is an orphan girl her one great possession is her vanity. In the story it is conveyed that many people thought that Karen was pretty “… but the looking glass said to her:” You are more than pretty, you are lovely” (241). This passage conjured up a similar image of the Evil Queen of Snow White and her vain attempts to seek validation from the mirror. On Karen’s Facebook page images of mirrors and many self portraits are displayed through out to represent her sense of vanity. On her playlist the song Your So Vain by Carly Simon is listed on her favorites. The song is a perfect representation of this character because the lyrics “You walked into the party. Like you were walking onto a yacht”( Simon ). In comparison Karen walks into her Confirmation with her red shoes her thoughts are filled with looks and stares that she gets from the congregation. Her favorite book is Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. She sees herself as the character of Rebecca in the novel. Rebecca shares attributes of being an orphan, beautiful, and having an obsession with vanity.
Karen shows obsessive tendencies throughout the fairytale. The focal point of her obsession are the red shoes. This point is substantiated in the passage, “Karen knelt before the altar and put the gold chalice to her lips, she thought of nothing but the red shoes- it seemed as if they were floating in front of her. She forgot to sing the hymns, and she forgot to say the prayers (242).” I represented her obsession with the red shoes by creating a photo album titled Red Shoes. The photo album has an obscene amount of different pairs of red shoes and comments using her quotes such as, “Yes don’t they shine (242)!” Also Karen developed an obsession of wanting to show off her wooden feet to the congregation. During this part of the tale, Karen has not fully undergone her spiritual transformation and it’s purely through her own vanity that drives her obsession of wanting to be seen. After she has her feet cut off she remarks, “Surely by now I must have done penance for the red shoes.” …. I’ll go to church and let everyone see me (244).” It is this quote that I use on her Facebook page for the pictures I entitled Bloody Stubs. It is through this album that Karen displays countless photos of bloody feet .The characterization of Karen’s vanity and obsession are intertwined immensely and would be a catalyst for her redemption. The redemption of Karen is the final transformation that she undergoes. She is no longer the vain and obsessive little girl. She is now mature and full of contrition. The best example of her redemption is represented in this passage: “In the evenings Karen sat and listened in silence, while the parson read aloud from the Bible. All the little ones were very fond of her but, when there was talk of dress and finery and of being as pretty as a picture, she would shake her head” (244). Her redemption is portrayed on her Facebook page as God being a person of inspiration to her. Tiger Woods is listed as her favorite athlete because he represents a person who is on the path to redemption. Her favorite TV shows are Touched by an Angel and Highway to Heaven because at the end of the story it is an angel that shows her mercy.
The character of Karen, like many of Hans Christian Anderson’s work is complex. By looking at her Facebook page it should be apparent that she was vain and obsessive but ultimately a character who finds redemption. Her choice of books, music, and images should convey this message.
Username sheri8503@gmail.com
Pw theredshoes

Work Cited Christian Anderson, Hans. “The Red Shoes.” The Classic Fairy Tales. Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999. 241-245. Print
Simon, Carly. “Your So Vain.” No Secrets. Elektra, 1972. Audiocassette.…...

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