Happy Endings in Hard Times and Granny’s Wonderful Chair

  • Alice Mills


Every culture makes sense of human existence by telling stories. Cultural anxieties are defined by the judgments implied in narratives which are subject to both personal and social constraints. In Victorian literature, human sexuality — especially female sexuality — was highly problematic, and authors generally avoided the issue, or transferred their anxieties about it to images of devouring females, deadly women and vampires. But there also appears in Victorian literature a tendency to portray women in nurturing roles which offer no possibility of sexual fulfilment — as sisters and as daughters. These female roles are associated with the oppositions between head and heart, utilitarianism and imagination, fact and fancy, which were the preoccupations of many Victorian writers. But nowhere is the association of heart, imagination and fancy with the celibate, nurturing sister/daughter more apparent than in Charles Dickens’s Hard Times and Frances Browne’s collection of fairy tales, Granny’s Wonderful Chair.


Hard Time Fairy Tale Surrogate Mother Adoptive Family Happy Ending 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works Consulted

  1. Frances Browne. Granny’s Wonderful Chair (1856) (Harmondsworth: Puffin, 1985; Reprinted Complete and Unabridged).Google Scholar
  2. Charles Dickens, Hard Times (Oxford University Press, 1955 [Oxford Illustrated Dickens]).Google Scholar
  3. Charles Dickens, Hard Times (1854) (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969).Google Scholar
  4. Charles Dickens, ‘Frauds on the Fairies’ Household Words 8: 184, Saturday 1 Oct. 1853.Google Scholar
  5. Homer, The Iliad of Homer, trans Richard Lathmore (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1951).Google Scholar
  6. Vladimir Propp, The Morphology of the Folk Tale, second edition, revised and edited with Preface by Louis A. Wagner, with new Introduction by Alan Dundas (Austin, Tx: Univ of Texas Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  7. Maria Tatar, The Hard Facts of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1987).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Mills

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations