Hardcover, 32 pages, Published September 27th 2001 by Phyllis Fogelman Books (first published December 1st 1845)
It is a bitterly cold night in December. Horse-drawn carriages rumble past, carrying people home to warm fires and roast-goose suppers. But one little girl cannot go home, not until she has sold her bundle of matches.
As she lights one after another to keep warm, her cold grey world changes magically before her eyes. Flames as bright as candles illuminate her visions, each one more beautiful than the last - a blazing fire in a stove with polished brass handles, and a lovely Christmas tree decorated with lighted candles and exquisite ornaments. And as the night goes on, each new vision seems more real than the dark streets around her.
S1: E1 The Pilot episode begins the series with Rory's acceptance into Chilton, and Rory and Lorelai have been arguing over Rory's leaving Stars Hollow High (see: Dean). To afford the enrollment fee due for the school, Lorelai has struck a deal to attend weekly dinners with her estranged parents for help unbeknownst to Rory. Amidst their fighting, they both hesitantly stand outside of Lorelai's childhood home for what will be the first of many Friday night dinners with the grandparents.
RORY: So, do we go in or do we just stand here reenacting The Little Match Girl?
Amy Sherman-Palladino has such poignant character development for even in the smallest of references. In the book, the impoverished match girl resides in a world of sorrow, and in her last moments uses her matches to finally see the warmth of her grandmother's home. Most know the story of The Little Match Girl, but it is the child's visions and reunion with the love of her family that is the real soul crusher. This tiny mention is in juxtaposition with Rory's reunion with her family and her being welcomed into her grandparents' home from a cold Fall night in Connecticut. It really hits the nail on the head with how seamlessly ASP can throw in an intelligent remark that a viewer can easily overlook.
"Someone is dying, thought the little girl; for her grandmother, the only person who had ever been kind to her, used to say. 'When a star falls, a soul is going up to God.'" - page 23
"She hastily struck a whole bunch of matches, because she did so long to keep her grandmother with her. the light of the matches made it as bright as day. Grandmother had never before looked so big or so beautiful. She lifted the little girl into her arm, and they soared in a halo of light and joy, far, far above the earth, where there was no more cold, no hunger, no pain, for they were with God." - page 27
This is sort of a non-subsection for this book, it is only 32 pages long! I recommend clicking one of the links below to very quickly read (or watch) this moving story.
WHAT THE WHAT?:
Hans Christian Andersen wrote The Little Match Girl as a telling of the harsh realities of children's poverty. The truth of her poverty and abuse haunt the little girl's physical world, yet the people surrounding her are unaffected by her position. The child is happy to be leaving the Earth and seeing her grandmother, although it occurs to us as no happy ending. The story raises awareness to the severe conditions children were forced to experience.
CARO'S RATING: 5 of 5 STARS
This story is too gut wrenching to be given any less stars than 5.
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