Fantasies and Aspirations in Augusta Webster's "Daffodil and the Croaxaxicans": Fairy-Tales as a Vehicle for Social Reform
Augusta Webster (1837-1894) was constantly concerned with the woman question. Her early writings positively celebrate female strength and female solidarity. Ironically, after actively involved in the women's suffrage movement in the 1870s, Webster seemed to have temporarity abandoned her usual themes of female power and friendship. The darker side of women's nature is exposed in her later works. She could only continue her quest for the feminine ideal in "Daffodil and the Croaxaxicans". Various admirable female characters, including the protagonist, are portrayed in this fairy-tale. Like some other fairy-tales written by nineteenth-century women writers, it is not written only for children. Many of Webster's social concerns find their way into this fantasy. Freed from the constraints of contemporary reality, the fantasy accommodates aspirations in ways not available to realist writings.
Keywords: Woman Writer, Fantasy, Fairy-tale, Feminine Ideal, Social Reform
Dr Victoria Lai Cheng Lei
Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Macau