Happy Endings in Hard Times and Granny’s Wonderful Chair
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.
KeywordsHard Time Fairy Tale Surrogate Mother Adoptive Family Happy Ending
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