Anderson through the story a Little Match Girl gives an idea about the Victorian society of his times?
Andersen portrays in this tale not only a realistic and crude view of society in Victorian times, but also a deep criticism of social class differentiation. During those times, children were not regarded the same way people regard them nowadays. Instead, they were viewed as ‘miniature adults’ and were usually used for cheap labour.
Andersen takes advantage of these strong social differences to leave a moral teaching at the end of his tale, this consists of the idea that children should be considered as creative people, able to transcend difficult situations through the power of imagination.
The girl, suffering from the cold and the ignorance of the people around her and maybe as a result of these, is still capable of imagining certain things that would make her feel better about her situation- huge Christmas trees, a table full of Christmas food and her grandmother’s loving face.
Andersen describes the social stratification of Victorian times in just a few sentences. During this historical period, while the ‘middle class’ emerged and took over an important percentage of work places, the ‘under class’ grew resentful of both aristocracy and middle class, remaining unemployed and living in poverty. Although Andersen does not explain the girl’s background, he denotes social differentiation by opposing the extremes. The reader understands that the girl and her family stand on the less fortunate side, and it also gives him/her an idea of their social impediments. Nevertheless, it can only be assumed that the story is set during Victorian times, mainly because Andersen lived during this period.