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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Early moralistic children ' s fiction sought to make inherently wicked children obey
the strictures of religion and thus become good citizens . More secular writers
wanted to employ logic in achieving similar results . But a characteristic tendency
FOUR Early Dickens WHEN HE WAS thirty - two years old , at a time when , as
Alexander Welsh has recently speculated , he might have just been through an
identity crisis of some sort , Charles Dickens began writing The Life of Our Lord
In the chapters to follow , I shall look briefly at the early works , then concentrate
on the later novels to examine the way narrative strategies and character
presentation are affected by the implementation of Dickens ' moral scheme ,
based on ...
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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