Astrid  Lindgren
Symposium 2001
Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, MA
Andrea Allen
"Astrid Lindgren: Symbolism of Characters and the Power of Children"
“The Vikings: Their Voyages West”

Throughout her books, Astrid Lindgren presents her characters as symbols of the spirit, imagination, independence, and power of children. They are larger than life, but they desire happiness, love, freedom, nature, and power as real children. Pippi Longstocking, Mio, Ronia, and Birk are four characters who symbolize the spirit, freedom, and power of children. Through their words and actions, these characters demonstrate that children need love and happiness in order to nurture their spirit. They require independence to explore their environment, overcome their fears, and experience new adventures. In order to use their imagination and feel independent, children need nature. Power is the greatest aspect of children, because they are able to influence or change the world around them. Altering the ideas and beliefs of adults is an example of a child’s true power. Through her universal characters, who symbolize freedom, love, nature, and happiness, Lindgren portrays real children and their desire for adventure and power.

The greatest life, according to Vikings, is one that is filled with adventure, exploration, raids, fear, and glory. Throughout the Viking Age, the Norwegian Vikings embarked on raids, voyages, and explorations west of Norway. Using their well-crafted ships, the Vikings invade the British Isles and explored Iceland, Greenland, and North America. Because of the increase in the Viking population of Norway, the tradition of young men seeking new land to build their home, and the desire for adventure and glory, the Vikings voyaged west. Settlement took place in Iceland and Greenland, but attempts to establish a Vikings colony in North America were futile.

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