Deportation And Redemption : The Differences And Use

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Deportation and Redemption: The Differences and Use in Edgeworth and Dickens Both Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations depict characters who are menaces to society- specifically, English society. What makes a character irredeemable for both authors is that he or she fails to conform to the laws and guidelines of England. For the worst transgressors, deportation is the punishment: Edgeworth deports Mr. Vincent to Germany and Dickens deports Magwitch to Australia. However, the two authors differ in both their view of what is unacceptable in England and what makes a character irredeemable. Edgeworth considers gambling in men and cross-dressing in women as transgressions against the social standards of England; Dickens also depicts the reckless use of money as a transgression, but additionally uses the law to deport a character. The difference in how each author deports and treats the characters reveals a larger social judgement in each novel: Edgeworth on creole assimilation and Dickens on the unfairness of the law. The attitudes of each author reflect their own life experiences, but also demonstrate the struggle inherent in conduct literature of not succumbing to social ideals. Both authors use voluntary character deportation at a time when a fresh start and moral reflection are needed. Because of his gambling habit, “all hopes of being united to Belinda [are] over” for Mr. Vincent and he has no further reason to stay. However, Edgeworth implies another reason for his leaving when she writes that Mr. Vincent left “determined to prove that [praises of his generosity] were deserved” (Edgeworth 449). A move to Germany gives Mr. Vincent a clean break from Belinda, while also providing a place to practice t... ... middle of paper ... ...” that threatens English Society. Lady Delacour exhibits traits that blur the traditional gender boundaries: her second child’s death and third child’s removal from the home cause her Aunt to label her a “monster” (Edgeworth, 102). This failure to be a proper mother- the quintessential job of a woman- manifests itself in the “cancerous” bruise on Lady Delacour’s chest that she received during a cross-dressing duel. Unlike Mr. Vincent, however, Edgeworth redeems Lady Delacour. In the original sketch of the novel, Lady Delacour dies from the operation for her cancer (Edgeworth, 482). Edgeworth then revises this so that the cancerous mark on Lady Delacour’s chest becomes only a bruise and, as Susan C. Greenfield explains in her article, “instead of dying, [Lady Delacour] recovers after revealing that her indecorum is only an act; her ‘natural character’ is that of a

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