This wonderful story is an ageless chronicle of a young girl struggling to stay warm on New Year's Eve usin g the very matches she is supposed to be selling to earn money for her family. With each strike of a match the little girl sees wonderful things in the flames which warm both her heart and soul. .
Let's set the scene...
It's the first of what would come to be known as the infamous "Friday Night Dinners" at the Gilmore estate, located in a rather monied part of Hartford. Rory and Lorelai stand outside the door of the palatial stone house. Fresh from a rare fight, mother and daughter look dejected, angry and cold, hesitating before knocking on Emily and Richard's door.
Rory: So, do we go in or do we stand out here, reenacting The Little Match Girl?
I don't want to write the cliched "during the holiday season, we tend to lose sight of what is truly important", but this story really is the epitome of that. I like the idea that this is a children's story. So often, we want to shield our children from the truth about the world. But how much more will a child appreciate the XBox Santa brought them, if they know that there are children who die of exposure everyday. Children who live in the same country of privilege and freedom as they do? Children who will be asking Santa for hot water and food this Christmas?
In addition to being a lesson on the plight of others in this world, Hans Christian Andersen was successful at making something so sad seem so beautiful. The imagery The Little Match Girl witnessed with each strike of her match was so full of hope and longing, the scenes so poetically written. By the close of the story, she reaches her most desired end... in the warm embrace of her loving and long-deceased grandmother. It's rare that a story ending with a death can seem so positive and uplifting. The reader finds him/herself happy for The Little Match Girl.
In the end, The Little Match Girl is a story of how our spirit continues on, out of the coldest, most harshest situations. The Little Match Girl's spirit was so pure and strong that she found beauty in even the most miserable circumstances... even at her last breath. For such a short story, Hans Christian Andersen said so much.
As an aside, in my search for Amazon's review of The Little Match Girl, I came across a book written by Gregory Maguire (author of Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, etc), building off of Andersen's classic tale. Titled, Matchless, it builds off of Andersen's classic tale. As a huge fan of Maguire's, I have yet another book to add to my list post-Black, White & Read Book Challenge! Thank you, Mr. Maguire!
I believe Mrs. Kim would enjoy the story of a little girl who essentially gets a glimpse of heaven prior to her death. I think the idea that a heaven exists where we are reunited with our beloved family and friends would be something that Mrs. Kim would cherish (and a story she would force Lane to read).
Who do I see reading this in the Stars Hollow gazebo?