“The Daffodil Sky” does not directly reflect upon larger social issues, focusing instead on the personal concerns of its protagonist and a handful of other characters. Nonetheless, the story does provide a general image of post-World War II England. Bates’s vivid descriptions of the bleak and blackened town in which his story is set reflect the state of England during the 1950s—a nation left diminished both by the cost of its recent war effort and by the loss of its last major overseas colonies. By 1955, when “The Daffodil Sky” appeared, the worst of the daily inconveniences of post-war life—the shortages of food, fuel, building materials, and automobiles— was over.
In order to get the economy back on track, however, England’s government had also altered the economy in fundamental ways. Important sectors, including coal production, electrical utilities, health care, and transportation,….
Britain in 1950 was different, in many ways, from Britain today. The most obvious difference was in the physical fabric of the country. In 1950 the legacy of the Second World War was still everywhere to be seen. In the major cities, and particularly in London, there were vacant bomb-sites, unrepaired houses, temporary prefabs and gardens turned into allotments. The countryside was peppered with wartime military bases, many now abandoned, others reactivated in response to the Cold War.
The myth of Narcissus comes in two different versions, the Greek and the Greco-Roman version, as both Conon the Greek and Ovid, the Roman poet, wrote the story of Narcissus, enhancing it with different elements.
About the author:
H.E. Bates, in full Herbert Ernest Bates (born May 16, 1905, Rushden, Northamptonshire, Eng.—died Jan. 29, 1974, Canterbury, Kent), novelist and short-story writer of high reputation and wide popularity.
Bates gained his knowledge of rural English life as a country-town solicitor’s clerk and sharpened his skill as a reporter of atmosphere and action as a provincial journalist. His early short stories, essays, and novels in the 1920s were highly praised, but he became well known as a writer about the countryside and the life of the agricultural labourer with The Poacher (1935); A House of Women (1936); My Uncle Silas (1940), widely enjoyed for its earthy, Rabelaisian humour; and The Beauty of the Dead and Other Stories (1941).
World War II made Bates famous. Commissioned as a writer for the Royal Air Force in 1941, as “Flying Officer X” he gained great popularity with The Greatest People in the World(1942) and How Sleep the Brave (1943), collections of stories that conveyed the feel of flying in wartime. Three novels published under his own name, Fair Stood the Wind for France (1944), about a British bomber crew forced down in occupied France, and two set in Burma (now Myanmar) during the Japanese invasion, The Purple Plain (1946) and The Jacaranda Tree (1948), earned Bates a new reputation as a novelist of power.
In his postwar novels and stories Bates reached the height of his powers. From The Nature of Love (1954) to A Moment in Time (1964) and The Triple Echo (1970), he developed consistently in subtlety, depth, and strength as a novelist, and in The Darling Buds of May(1958) he created a realistic, lovable farm family, the Larkins. Colonel Julian (1955) demonstrates his range in the short story, and the autobiographical The Vanished World(1969) and The Blossoming World (1971) show that he retained his power to capture the mood of the passing moment.