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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suffering in silence . Caleb ' s is an active secret , a lie about the world . John ' s is
a passive secret , a fear about the truth . Though John is wrong about his wife ,
there are grounds for his suspicion because Dot has a secret of her own for ...
Every character in Little Dorrit who counts on the side of Virtue and Heroism is , it
will be seen , made to suffer , and that acutely ... 14 It may be that the virtuous and
heroic to some degree earn their suffering , but why should they endure pains ...
For the first time the Doctor felt , now , that his suffering was strength and power ”
( 257 ) . His suffering having been made public , he is endowed with a productive
strength that repression could never produce . Ironically , Dr . Manette is ...
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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