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 says he likes the baronet despite the sham sentiment and so forth in his
writing , but recommends that , no matter how much Bulwer admires his own
writing , he shouldn ' t protest when criticised because his complaints and
whining just ...
The problem , she says , began when she asked her husband to keep Esmond
with them . “ I saw that they boded harm to us — and it came , I knew it would .
Why did you not die when you had the small - pox — and I came myself and
says Harry . ' If you don ' t forgive , why don ' t you fight ? That ' s what I call the
horns of a dilemma . ' And he laughed his frank , jolly laugh ( 8 : 56 ) . It is clear
from this early episode that Harry is easily inclined to fight but equally quick to ...
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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