So the little girl walked about the streets on her naked feet, which were red and blue with cold. In her old apron she carried a great many matches, and she had a packet of them in her hand as well.
(i) Who was 'she'? What can you conclude about her condition from the above description?
(ii) What time of the year was it? Why did she not want to go home?
(iii) What did she use the matches for? What happened when she lit the first match?
(iv) Whom did she love dearly? What did she say when this person appeared before her?
(v) What happened to the little girl at the end of the story? Would you consider this a happy ending or a sad one? Give one reason for your answer.
(i) The Little Match Girl / The Little girl
No shoes - feet were naked, red and blue / old apron
She came from a desperately poor home - no shoes at the peak of winter.
Pathetic / miserable / cold / poor
(ii) Winter / New Year’s Eve / 31st December / last evening of the year
She had not sold any matches (or earned a single penny) - this would make her father very angry - he would beat her.
Home was very cold too - wind whistled through the roof which was stuffed with rags and straw.
(iii) For light and heat / warm herself / numb fingers.
A great iron stove with polished brass knobs and ornaments appeared before her.
A fire burned beautifully in it / gave out warmth / when she stretched her feet to warm them the stove vanished / simply an illusion.
(iv) Her grandmother
begged her grandmother to take her with her.
Was afraid her grandmother would vanish / like all the other beautiful visions had that evening / the warm stove, the roast goose and the glorious Christmas Tree.
(v) she died
Either Happy + reason: All her troubles ended and she joined her grandmother in heaven where she would not feel cold or hunger / needs.
Sad + reason: A little life full of promise is put out. Indifference of society to her suffering. Irony that she died of cold and starvation at a time / season when all the world talks about giving to others.