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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There are many examples , but an interesting , because recurrent , one is the
fable of a deliquent son who is the occasion of his virtuous mother ' s suffering . In
“ Meditations in Monmouth Street , ” the narrator concocts the history of a man ...
If Florence is a daughter Dombey cannot invest , Edith is a woman he can buy .
Disgusted with herself and her mother , who has brought her up to consider the
marriage market all - important , Edith nonetheless allows herself to be
However , though George is quiet , he quickly becomes indignant when his
mother presumes to punish his servant boy . “ A fierce quarrel between mother
and son ensued out of this event . Her son would not be pacified . He said the ...
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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