Christian Andersen fairy tale Red the color red appears on multiple occasions, each time symbolizing something different. The shifts In the meaning of the color can be related to the action In the story, and how Karen Is feeling or being affected by her surroundings. And sore In the opening of the story are the result of wearing wooden shoes in the winter.
This redness is symbolic of her poor family, and also of her playful nature. As is shown in the rest of the story, Karen is a carefree child, and the type of girl, who even though she is wearing heavy done shoes, would frolic and play, causing sore ankles. When mother dies, instead of wearing black shoes, customary in western culture, Karen wears her gaudy red shoes, despite the fact that it is a completely inappropriate color to wear on such a somber occasion.
In this case, the red in the shoes symbolizes a lack of respect for the dead. The dead, especially the parents of children, deserve the respect of those In mourning, and yet Karen, with only red shoes to wear, decides to dishonor her dead mother by wearing them Instead of going barefoot. When the old lady adopts Karen, the red color of shoes represents he sin of Pride.
Karen is so enamored by her red shoes that thought it was because of her new red shoes that the old lady had taken a fancy to (Andersen 289) This intense pride in her own self image is the result of her red shoes, and is so strong that even after they are burned, and she is given new clothes from her elderly benefactress, the red shoes have boosted her ego so much that even the mirrors seem to tell her are more than pretty, you are beautiful. ? C,. ?o (Andersen 289) The color red takes on a deferent meaning when the Queen arrives in town for a sit.
Karen sees that the young princess also wore the loveliest red shoes, made from morocco and to Karen nothing else In the world was so (Andersen 290) In this situation, the red shoes are the object of desires and the redness of the shoes the deadly sin of Envy. Thus, in the first pages of the story, the color red is indicative of two the Deadly it is these sins that leads her down the road to tragedy. At confirmation, while everyone else in the congregation wears dark colors, Karen is the only one wearing red shoes. Karen was so vain that she Hough that even the pictures of the former ministers were staring at her because of her red shoes.
The concept of red shoes being the focus of mind is very apparent at the moment of her confirmation. The old bishop laid his hands on her head and spoke of the solemn promise she was about to make ? of her covenant with God to be a good Christian her mind was not on his words. [?CҐ,–?:] Karen was thinking of her red (Andersen 290) obsession with the red shoes shows how she strays from the path of God, keeping her mind from God, even on the most important day for her to be close o go, near conformation. The strong influence that the shoes have on self image is also showcased the following church day.
When the invalid soldier who offers to wipe the old shoes, it is as a sign of respect for the elderly, but Karen? arrogance causes her to stick out her foot without reason. This sudden lack of social graces is indicative of her spiral into a dark place where her conscience is completely absorbed by her obsession. The communion wine, also red, is supposed to represent the blood of Christ. This is a sudden change from the previous notions of the color red. Here, instead of being a symbol of sinful nature and evil, the red wine offers the promise of salvation and holiness.
However, while Karen drinks the wine, instead of feeling the spirit of the lord inside her, Karen only sees the red shoes reflected in the wine. Seeing the source of the sin in the elixir that is supposed to bring her to the fold of God brings forth an interesting contradiction in the uses of the color red. All at once, the color red is used to represent both the evils of the world and the salvation that God promises. The color red is also present in the invalid Eng beard that was red with touches of white in it. ?C,-1?0 (Andersen 291) In his beard, the color red is a symbol of the devil, making the soldier a representative of the devil. When he says, to stay on her feet for the it foreshadows the events that are to follow, almost as if he has privileged knowledge of the future. (Andersen 291) After the service, when ? words made her take a few dancing steps. Once she had begin, her feet would not almost as if the shoes were being controlled by an outside source. (Andersen 291) The way the old soldiers words caused Karen to start dancing wows the extent of the influence he has over her, and shows how she is led down a dark path.
Even after the terrible experience with the dancing shoes, Karen cannot stay away from the red shoes, and in her hour of need, Karen abandons her benefactress and goes to the ball in her red shoes. Here, the red symbolizes a lack of familial respect, and insistence on wearing her red shoes brings the symbol of red back to the side of evil. However, even though the red shoes symbolize the wickedness of her actions, she is eventually led down the path the goodness, and re fear of the ever-dancing shoes shows that she knows how she was wrong, and will strive to find a way to become one in flock.
While dancing Karen meets an angel, who hands down punishment. Though many may see the decree as the final verdict, it can be seen that God is giving Karen one more chance to repent, and in order to return to God, she must pass through trials in order to be forgiven. When feet are cut off with the shoes, the blood that she bleeds is a symbol of her repenting soul. The executioner who often hands down the Judgment of man, is the one who helps Karen rediscover her lace in world, and teaches the psalm a penitent sings? C,-1?0 and gives her the means to walk the earth as a symbol that man can overcome.
However, when she tries to go to church, the red shoes are there, blocking her way inside, which symbolizes that she is not yet ready to return to the church, and she must suffer longer, and know that it is not her choice as to how much she has suffered. Finally, in the house, after doing humbling work and recognizing that the red shoes were the vehicles by which she was condemned, the same angel AT comes to near Wendell seen Is praying. I Nils tale, Instead AT carrying a sword to bar her way, now held a rose branch covered with flowers. ? (Andersen 294) These red flowers, instead of being symbols of all her sins, are like tokens of her repenting, and whatever they touch, it becomes a part of the church, and brings Karen up to God, finally deemed worthy. Red symbols throughout the story carry strong messages of sin and forgiveness, and it is showcased in this story that one single symbol can be used to represent many different, often opposing, opinions, and have strong results.