The Water Babies: Illustrated By Charles Kingsley. On the surface, Charles Kingsley's 'The Water Babies' appears to be a traditional fairy tale complete with fairies, sea-beasts and talking animals. The villains are the neglectful masters, violent schoolteachers and ignorant parents, who create a darkening world of terror from which, the hero Tom must escape by turning into a water baby. However, upon entering a new world of underwater mystery, Tom must re-visit aspects of the human world in new magical forms, in order to correct his own weaknesses and become truly 'clean'. Kingsley's novel is a heavily symbolic and didactic text that conveys horror to the Victorian evils represented through surprising methods of fairytale fiction.
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