Heidi | Sunday Observer


The plot of the novel Heidi by Swiss author Johanna Spyri focuses on the life of an orphaned girl by the same name. The novel is set in Switzerland and Germany in the mid-nineteenth century. Heidi’s parents die when she is about one year old and she is sent away to live with her paternal grandfather when she is about five. Heidi’s grandfather lives in a hut in the Swiss Alps and Heidi quickly adapts to her new life in the mountains. Heidi enjoys life in the mountains and makes friends with the goatherd Peter and often goes with him to the pastures.

But Heidi’s grandfather refuses to send her to school because that would require him to move to the village of Dorfli nearby which he does not want to do. When Heidi is almost eight years she is sent to Frankfurt, Germany to be a companion to an invalid girl named Clara Sesemann. Heidi soon makes friends with Clara and also learns to read and write from her tutor Mr. Usher, but she yearns to go back to the Alps where she is free as she misses the beautiful sunsets, fir trees and pastures of the Alps. Heidi conceals her longing to go back to the Alps from the Sesemann family but it unconsciously manifests itself in sleepwalking, and Dr. Classen advises Mr. Sesemann to send her back to the Alps immediately.

An interesting part of the novel is when Clara spends a summer with Heidi in the Alps and becomes strong and starts to walk. Spyri paints a vivid picture of the beautiful Swiss Alps and the idyllic life in the mountains and takes the reader on an adventure with a loveable little girl who enjoys life to the fullest.