Fear— In a positive light
In the “Wonderful Adventures of Nils” by Selma Lagerlof, I feel that Nils crossed that passage between an innocent and naïve individual to a wiser and more encompassing entity while still retaining his purity and keeping himself a “child at heart” by learning and experiencing what fear is. Fear is usually a concept that most humans would not like to experience sinceit is something usually mysterious or not often encountered. It is going out of one’s comfort zone and bravely surrounding oneself in a realm of the unknown. As a boy in the village, I feel that Nils did not know fear since he was never exposed to it much. His parents gave him that safety blanket and nurtured him in a humble but safe environment. He had not ventured out much into the world and hadnot seen or experienced what hardship really was. He was immature and acted aggressively towards all; he showed no real kindness, not even towards his parents. By feeling as if he were almighty and that nothing could hurt him, he tortured harmless creatures like farm animals. Nils’ outlook on life changed when he journeyed through wilderness and learned what fear was. To me, I feel that this wassomething positive for Nils because through battling his own fears of trust, death of others, and of being undersized, he grew into a real, loving, and more understanding person— an individual more aware of the works of the world and someone who truly cares about those he loves.
When Nils first flew on the back of the goose, he was scared by the suddenness, but quickly grew accustomed to it;however as the unpredictable stork did tricks by flipping or twisting, I sensed that Nils was afraid of the fact that his life was entirely dependent on someone else; he had no control of it. I feel that Nils was very independent in the beginning and did not possess much respect nor trust for anyone. By being afraid of trusting in someone, Nils knew that he could only fight that by believing with hiswhole heart in someone else’s kindness. He had to believe that the stork would never drop him, and therefore trust his life with the stork. Though fear is normally considered negative, in this example, it is shown in a positive light as it allowed Nils to develop his hope and trust in someone else.
Although Nils seemed fearful of relying on someone else for survival, he didn’t seem too afraid ofhis own death, the elf in the beginning, or the Smirre Fox. Nils surprised me each and every time with his quick thinking and spontaneity. As a reader, I feared for his fate more than he did sometimes! Because he seemed careless and often walked into “traps,” the reader hopes that he will not perish. When reading the part on how Nils rescues the small squirrels or when he helps the goose to thewater, I realize Nils ran many life-threatening risks. Someone could have seen him and persecuted him or the flock of geese could have shunned and pecked him to death if he made a wrong move. However, he was sweet and saved a goose from Smirre Fox towards the start of the story. As far as the elf, I believe that Nils later on feared him for he realized that only the elf had to power to give him backhis human side. His own fate was again, out of his hands. In the beginning, the phrase “ignorance is bliss” applies well since he never fully realized how much command and control something supernatural and so small such as an elf could have. It is also strange that Nils, who fears the mice, does not fear something as cunning as a fox. It almost seems that Nils cannot be too careful or he wouldbecome bored. The fox keeps him on his toes and creates suspense into his and readers’ life. Nils and the flock of geese always seem to barely escape from the sharp claws of Smirre Fox, who loyally chases the flock for sweet revenge. Nils truly does surprise the readers with his dashing audacity and bravery by putting his own life in jeopardy in order to save others first. At times, I believe Nils...
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