Child Death
Banerjee, Jacqueline. Through the Northern Gate: Childhood and Growing Up in British Fiction, 1719-1901 (New York: Lang, 1996).
Banerjee commends Kingsley’s unsentimental, positive, and far from frightening portrayal of child death in The Water-Babies. However, she considers the end when Tom and Ellie are brought back to land “a let-down” (104).

The Water-Babies; Child Death.

Beer, Gillian.  “Kingsley: 'pebbles on the shore',” The Listener Vol. 93 (17 April, 1975): 506-7.
Beer briefly considers Kingsley’s views on the importance of catering to children’s imaginative needs.  She reviews certain attributes of The Water-Babies.  It is distressful, very funny, and full of social and political digressions; some of its episodes are cruel and make us wince; it is very sensual and crammed with physical experiences.  She discusses the important role aspects of evolutionary theory play throughout the work.  “It is hard, I think, to over-emphasise the richness of Kingsley’s recognition of mythic elements in the ideas of development and mutation, of ‘metamorphosis’ as Darwin sometimes calls it . . .”  In addition, complementing physical transformation, moral transformation, the responsibility of the individual himself, is a very significant theme in the work.  Beer also stresses that Mother Carey is a female principle of creativity, as opposed to the more usual male God.  Because of the occurrences of child death in The Water-Babies Beer views it as a kindertotenlied, “another of those attempts to give meaning to the death of children, so deeply and terribly needed by the Victorians” (507).

The Water-Babies; Evolution; Females; Child Death; Science.

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