The Little Mermaid:A Fairytale of Individuation
Researchers that focus on the relationship between mythology, fairytales, and human psyche have been limited. Although theorists such as Jung, mythologist Joseph Campbell, and Jungian analysts James Hollis and Marie Louise von Franz contributed important theories about the importance of these archetypal stories to the field of psychology, this topic remains understudied. My study therefore focuses on how the use of mythology and fairytales helps one connect with one’s deeper Self. This study is used to analyze Hans Christian Andersen’s (1872-1974) fairytale The Little Mermaid. The story describes the process of individual psychological development in a metaphorical language that is accessible to many people andas well as contributive to their unique human life journeys. As a story of redemption, the little mermaid lost an essential part of her Self, the feminine principle, which she had to regain in order to attain an immortal soul. Psychologically speaking, she underwent a life-death-rebirth cycle that allowed her path toward individuation. The little mermaid had to sacrifice herself to the totality of the Self, which included both consciousness and the unconscious. This integration of consciousness and the unconscious allowed her to resume her spiritual path toward Selfhood. Therefore The Little Mermaid offers people guidance in their lives.