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The Emperor's New Clothes - Essay Example

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The Emperor’s New Clothes is a fairy tale originally written by Hans Christian Andersen. Since its conception, versions from different cultures have also been written including a politically correct adaptation from James Finn Garner. This essay will attempt to analyze the three stories, focusing on the different themes manifested by each story…
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The Emperors New Clothes
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"The Emperor's New Clothes"

Download file to see previous pages (Wullschlager) The author altered the story line and changed the theme to courtly pride and intellectual vanity. (Wullschlager) Andersen lived in a time when the bourgeoisie was a class of its own. Many believe that Andersen had chosen to change the storyline and the ending of the Spanish story to make fun of the bourgeoisie and their snobbishness and hypocrisy. The satirical attempt was obvious in how Andersen described the king as someone who “wanted to be always well dressed” and “spend (sic) all his money in order to obtain” his clothes (Andersen), not caring for anyone else. Intellectual vanity was not only limited to the bourgeoisie class, however, as the old sensible minister, courtier and other officials who worked for the emperor lied to the latter about what they saw since they also did not want to be called stupid. In fact, Andersen writes “Everyone in town...were anxious to see how bad or stupid their neighbours were.” (Andersen) By making the foolish emperor decide to parade his nude fat body proudly under the invisible new wardrobe because he did not want to admit his stupidity, Anderson effectively showed how much people valued their pride. The need to keep face was also evident at the end of story when, after realizing the truth, the emperor said he must bear the humiliation till the end. Also, the element of irony is present because the swindlers’ cloth which is supposed to be seen only by superior people actually made the emperor and everyone else around him who praised the new wardrobe stupid. James Finn Garner’s retelling of Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes is a “politically correct version” with the author making fun of how people are trying not to be insulting, sometimes to a fault. Garner stuck to most of the storyline but changed the ending and consequently, changed the moral lesson of the fairy tale as well. Using modern language, Garner described the emperor, his kingdom and the people around him as nicely as politically correct advocates would not be expected to. Examples of such would be the tailor, who deceived the king, being decorum-impaired. The emperor was a “wisdom-challenged tyrant” who felt good about the idea of an empire that made him look good, like a “trophy wife”. (Garner) Although most of the storyline remained the same and the story was still about vanity, the author used the language of today to describe the situation, characters and feelings of the people in the story. The empire was supposed to be of people who were non-alcoholics, non-smokers and listened to country music among others. (Garner) The irony in the story is still shown in how Garner made the seemingly astute leader who believed that males were superior look inferior when he himself could not admit to the truth as to the existence of his new wardrobe. As with Andersen, Garner describes the new emperor’s body as “an ugly mass of puffy white flesh” and yet the emperor “saw this too, but pretended that he could see the beautiful, politically correct robes.” Again, Garner pokes fun at how some people already see the truth but still want to appear politically correct and say nice things to avoid being insulting. The alternate ending Garner did was to make the crowd decide on joining the nude emperor by undressing and declaring a “clothing optional” day from thereon. With this, Garner presents the issue of nudity with a thumbs-up ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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