The Little Match Girl

Author: Hans Christian Andersen
Plot Summary: A young girl attempts to sell matches on New Year’s Eve, as she does many other days of the year. She is unsuccessful in her attempts and uses the matches to keep warm as the cold night approaches. She finds comfort in the heat and she recalls memories of her deceased grandmother, as she passes away in the cold of the night.
Posted In: Ethics, Metaphysics

Discussion Questions
  • What makes someone poor? Why is the little girl so poor?
  • Is it the girl’s responsibility to provide money for her family? Whose responsibility is it?
  • Did the little girl choose to dream about the large iron stove? Do we choose what we dream about?
  • Is she dreaming of the stove and dinner or is she imagining? Are dreaming and imagining different?
  • The little girl says someone is dying because the star is falling. Do we know when someone is dying?
  • Why do you think her grandmother was the only person who had been good to her?
  • If the images kept disappearing, why did the little girl keep striking the matches?
  • Why didn’t anyone help her? Should someone have helped her?
  • Is someone responsible for the little girl’s death? If so, who?

Contributed by Natalie Janson