The Hans Christian Andersen Center

Religious motifs : Overview. Search. About religious motifs

Description of this motif: Sin is a violation of religious rules. Sin sticks to the sinner as impurity or guilt. Absolution or another kind of purification is necessary in order to become "clean" or not guilty again. In Andersen's universe sin isn't unforgivable. Sinners may be forgiven and achieve salvation. In some tales, e.g. Something and The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf, sinners are given a chance to regret and improve – sometimes in several attempts, which either lead to continued condemnation or to salvation, e.g. in The Garden of Paradise.

Example :

"The larder is full," said the wife. "We can thank our good lady for that. I am healthy and have plenty of strength. It is sinful for us to complain."

The master and lady of the manor house remained there in the country over Christmas, but the week after the new year, they were to go to the city, where they would spend the winter in festivity and amusement. They would even go to a reception and ball given by the King himself.

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