Edgeworth And Dickens Analysis

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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…show more content…
Unlike Edgeworth, Dickens sympathizes, even pities, his deported criminal. Magwitch describes himself as a “ragged little creetur” who was “in jail and out of jail” his entire childhood- a description that makes even Pip pity him (Dickens, 346). “O Lord, be merciful to him, a sinner!” Pip exclaims after Magwitch’s death in an emotional moment of redemption for both characters (Dickens, 460). It is this mix of pity and sympathy Dickens shows to Magwitch that starkly contrasts with the distant respect Edgeworth shows towards the character she…show more content…
Vincent, Dickens’ sympathy for Magwitch and the fact that the law, not the author himself, deports him implies that Dickens does not support the law that sentences Magwitch to death. Magwitch is described as one who had “taken to industrious habits, and had thriven lawfully and reputably” (Dickens, 456). Dickens’ sympathy towards Magwitch as a hard worker who has earned his right to return home contrasts his frustration toward the law. The law cannot consider the time served or the industriousness of a criminal, but can only try him for returning home: “Nothing could unsay the fact that he had returned...It was impossible to try him for that, and do otherwise than find him Guilty” (Dickens, 456). This lack of redemptive power in the law clearly frustrates Dickens, along with the fact that the law traps lower class offenders in a cycle of
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