LITERATURE, FILM AND INTERCULTURALITY IN BETWEEN: CROSSING BOUNDARIES IN THE LITTLE MERMAID The Little Mermaid from Hans Cristian Andersen,viewed from a different perspective

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The Little Mermaid is a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. It is about a young mermaid who meets a handsome prince the first time that she is allowed to go ‘upstairs’; to the surface, to the ‘Human World’. After the encounter she tries everything to get to the world of her beloved. After many sacrifices, hardships, the painful loss of her fish tail in exchange for two legs, she finally gets to her prince. When he will marry her out of free will she can remain human. But he does not recognise her.

A concept that is apparent in The Little Mermaid is that of hybridity. Hybridity refers in its most basic sense to mix. It is thus the possession or occurrence of mixture. The little mermaid is obviously a mixture between fish and human, but after her sacrifice to give up her fish tail in order to get legs, she stays a mixture, now between mermaid and human; she still thinks like a mermaid, only physically seen she is a woman.

The intercultural relationship between the mermaid and the prince is a contact in which there is a lot of miscommunication. In this fairy tale language has the role of power. The little mermaid has given her tongue in exchange for her legs. That is why she cannot talk and why she cannot explain the prince what she feels and who she is. Through the lack of language there is misunderstanding (the prince does not know that she is the one who saved him one day when his ship sunk and he almost drowned) which causes a relationship of dependence. It strengthens the pure and innocence image from the mermaid and at the same time makes her look more childish and dense.

It is painful to see...