Dickens and Thackeray: Punishment and Forgiveness
Attitudes toward punishment and forgiveness in English society of the nineteenth century came, for the most part, out of Christianity. In actual experience the ideal was not often met, but in the literature of the time the model was important. For novelists attempting to tell exciting and dramatic stories, violent and criminal activities played an important role, and, according to convention, had to be corrected through poetic justice or human punishment. Both Dickens' and Thackeray's novels subscribed to the ideal, but dealt with the dilemma it presented in slightly different ways.
At a time when a great deal of attention has been directed toward economic production and consumption as the bases for value, Reed's well-documented study reviving moral belief as a legitimate concern for the analysis of nineteenth-century English texts is particularly illuminating.
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And the new narrative voice , taking over from Pendennis , who himself fades into
Fable - land , explains that anything can happen in Fable - land ; wicked people
die appropriately and the weak are rescued : “ And the poet of Fable - land ...
Because this is so , Pendennis has access to the secrets of his characters '
motives . Since Dr . Firmin is presented as flawed from the outset , it is
reasonable to assume that he has erred at some point in his past career . Thus
chapter 3 begins ...
But if Philip was no hero and had his faults like all of us , Pendennis included ,
then why does Pendennis suppose the story of his life is worth telling ? Philip , as
far as the narrative goes , achieves no great aim in life . He has no profession
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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