Rapple, Brendan.  “The Motif of Water in Charles Kingsley's The Water-Babies,” University of Mississippi Studies in English Vol. XI-XII (1993-1995): 259-71.
Kingsley uses the motif of water in The Water-Babies to preach the virtues of bathing and washing.  Cleaning the body and the inculcation of good sanitary habits is also an effective method of preventing disease.  In addition, washing with water, preferably cold water, helps the attainment of moral rectitude.  “However, the depiction of water as a cleansing agent may also be viewed in an allegorical sense, namely as purifying morally and spiritually both the individual Tom as well as the collective society. Only after Tom's baptismal washing and consequent Christian rebirth does his deeply felt wish ‘I must be clean, I must be clean’ begin to be truly satisfied.  Only after an analogous allegorical cleansing can any genuine regeneration of England occur” (269).

The Water-Babies; Water Motif; Cleanliness; Sanitation; Religion; Social and Political Views.

Tanner, Tony.  “Mountains and Depths---An Approach to Nineteenth-century Dualism.” Review of English Literature Vol. III (October 1962): 51-61. ??????
Tanner examines the significance of the roles of cleanliness and dirt in The Water-Babies.  This work has dual spheres of truth.  “On the one hand a life debased, dirty and corrupting, on the other hand a slightly fantastic realm in which many of the values cherished by the Victorian mind are operative – and the two worlds are separate and in a state of hostile tension” (55).

The Water-Babies; Cleanliness.

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