Asleep in a glass coffin : fairy tales as illuminating attitudes to women in the novels of Charles Dickens

Daly, Robyn Anne (1996) Asleep in a glass coffin : fairy tales as illuminating attitudes to women in the novels of Charles Dickens. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The field of research of this thesis covers three main areas: the novels of Charles Dickens; fairy tales and storytelling; and notions of women as reflected in feminist literary theory. A reading of selected novels by Dickens provides the primary source. That he copiously drew on fairy tales has been explored in such notable works as Harry Stone's, but the thesis concentrates on Dickens 's propensity in his creation of female protagonists to give them a voice which is vivified through fairy tale. The analysis of fairy story through narrative theory and feminist literary theory functions as the basis of an exploration of the role female narrative voices play in a reading of the novels which reveals a more sympathetic vision of the feminine than has been observed hitherto. The context of this study is Victorian attitudes to women and that modem criticism has not sufficiently acknowledged Dickens's insight into of the condition of women; much of this is discovered through an examination of his use of fairy tale wherein the woman is bearer of imaginative and emotional capacities magically bestowed. The research aims to counter the view of Dickens's novels as being sexist, through the iIluminatory characteristics of fairy tale. Dickens activates his women characters by means of their often being tellers of tales replete with fairy tale imagery, and their tales are almost always seminal to the novelist's moral purpose.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Charles Dickens, Novels, Fairy tales, Storytelling, Women, Feminist literary theory, Female protagonists, Narrative voices, Victorian attitudes
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > English
ID Code:3306
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:06 Sep 2012 07:49
Last Modified:06 Sep 2012 07:49
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