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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Hugh may not understand his dream , but readers certainly should , having been
assisted throughout the text with numerous references to hanging as symbolically
, if not actually , the ultimate punishment for trespass . There is yet another ...
Philip Collins says that Jonas is pretty conventional until he experiences a
troubling premonitory dream , after which Dickens ' presentation of him is more
original and effective ( Dickens and Crime ( Bloomington : Indiana University
manity and saves Stephen from his guilty dream of murdering his wife or letting
her destroy herself . When Stephen is powerless to move , half in a trance ,
Rachael prevents his wife from accidentally drinking the poisonous medicine ...
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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