Abstract

In Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” bodily mutilation—exchanging a fishtail for legs and giving up a voice—is presumed necessary to become human. Using the lens of disability studies, I explore the paradox of the mermaid’s amputations. On the one hand, Andersen’s story incorporates a religious framework in which a maimed body is a holy body. Yet the insistence on surgically correcting the mermaid’s body to make her human troublingly endorses aesthetic norms. The ending of the tale, in which the mermaid is neither human nor mermaid, is Andersen’s attempt to reckon with the paradox.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1536-1802
Print ISSN
1521-4281
Pages
pp. 295-312
Launched on MUSE
2017-12-15
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.