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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Once these assumptions are challenged , new grounds of defense for
punishment must be found . If an emphasis upon physical pain as a
consequence of wrongdoing remained a significant element of introducing
children to Victorian culture ...
Jean Sudrann ' s “ The Philosopher ' s Property : Thackeray and the Use of Time ,
" Victorian Studies 10 , no . 4 ( June 1967 ) , 359 – 88 , offers a far more satisfying
exploration of Thackeray ' s " Janus - faced time who destroys man , yet ...
Victorian Conventions . Athens : Ohio University Press , 1975 . . . “ A Friend to
Mammon : Speculation in Victorian Literature , ” Victorian Studies 27 , no . 2 (
Winter 1984 ) , 179 - 202 . Victorian Will . Athens : Ohio University Press , 1989 .
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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