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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For Thackeray humor “ is not a cover - up , a simplification of reality , but an
evocation of complex , even contradictory , responses . The seriousness and
sadness of the true humorist show through his best jokes , not in spite of them ,
but in ...
Robert A . Colby , Thackeray ' s Canvass of Humanity : An Author and His Public (
Columbus : Ohio State University Press , 1979 ) , 387 . 3 . The Letters and Private
Papers of William Makepeace Thackeray , ed . Gordon N . Ray , 4 vols .
Mystery of Pain , The ( Hinton ) , 28 Needham , Gwendolyn B . , 203 Nelson ,
Claudia , 43 Newcomb , Mildred , 211 , 225 Newcomes , The ( Thackeray ) , 352 ,
400 – 22 , 443 , 457 , 465 Newgate fiction , 310 , 318 - 19 New History of
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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