What images come to mind when reading the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm?

When reflecting on what images come to mind when reading a story, think about the way you envision key elements like the characters and the setting. For example, in Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid," the plants are described as almost lifelike, and the reader might imagine them breathing or moving.

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When reflecting on images that came to your mind when you read a story, consider how you envisioned elements like the setting or the main characters.

Even though the author of a text might have a specific image in mind that they are trying to convey, every reader envisions what...

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When reflecting on images that came to your mind when you read a story, consider how you envisioned elements like the setting or the main characters.

Even though the author of a text might have a specific image in mind that they are trying to convey, every reader envisions what they are reading in a slightly different way. For example, in the story “Rapunzel” by the Brothers Grimm, the narrator describes the king’s son as “young and handsome.” While this description contains key details, it still leaves a lot to the imagination. You might consider what descriptions like this made you picture in your mind.

Similarly, consider Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.” In this story, the narrator opens by describing the world under the sea, where the sea king rules his subjects. He says,

We must not imagine that there is nothing at the bottom of the sea but bare yellow sand. No, indeed: the most singular flowers and plants from there; the leave and stems of which are so plaint, that the slightest agitation of the water causes them to stir as if they had life.

This is a detailed description of the sea, but different readers might have different mental images of what this looks like. You might consider reflecting on what this under-the-sea world looked like in your mind and what kinds of plants and animals it was full of.

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