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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He wants not only to enjoy himself but to live contrary to his father ' s teaching .
Ironically , his mode of escaping from that life of facts and figures is to work in a
bank where he deals with figures , and where his downfall comes through the ...
Did they live and die once ? Did they love each other as true brothers and loyal
gentlemen ? Can we hear their voices in the past ? " ( 8 : 122 ) . This last question
is followed by a long letter from George describing his experiences , in which ...
Again Fowles writes , “ Existentialism says , in short , that if I commit an evil then I
must live with it for the rest of my life ; and that the only way I can live with it is by
accepting that it is always present in me . Nothing , no remorse , no punishment ...
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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