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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Oliver Twist contains Dickens ' first sustained mystery plot , a narrative device he
would exploit for the rest of his career . Here again Susan Horton observes a
disharmony . “ We may not have , as we read Dickens , solved the ' puzzles ' of ...
The rendering of punishment and forgiveness indicates the parameters of that
plot . I would not go as far as A . O . J . Cockshut and argue that Dickens is
rendering an account of his own guilt in the plot of Great Expectations , but I
would argue ...
Peter Brooks establishes a quadripartite plot arrangement in the novel ( Reading
for the Plot : Design and Intention in ... which James Phelan restricts , for
convenience , to the convict plot and the home plot ( Reading People , Reading
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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