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Redemption and inheritance, from Bleak House to Great Expectations

Spencer, Amanda (2018) Redemption and inheritance, from Bleak House to Great Expectations. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This thesis explores themes of inheritance and redemption through motifs of baptism and apocalypse in two of Charles Dickens’s late works: Bleak House (1852) and Great Expectations (1861). It does so with the specific understanding that the construction of spaces and identities in time are there complexly interdependent entities whose configurations are constitutive of each novel’s narrative fabric. In other words, the spatial construction of each entity (space/place, identity) in relation to time is integral to its interpretation.

In Bleak House, the primary motif is that of apocalypse – a motif chiefly concerned with institutional spaces. Great Expectations, conversely, focuses on individual redemption with motifs of baptism. In each of these novels do orphans narrate retroactively their own experiences; in each narrative are the violences perpetrated by parents on children (be they adoptive, biological, or any other variety) foregrounded in Dickens’s social critique. And it is through baptism and apocalypse respectively that such violences are remedied, and inheritance erased.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Spencer, Amandaahs35@pitt.eduahs35
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTwyning,
Committee MemberTwyning,
Committee MemberAziz,
Committee MemberWigginton,
Date: 24 April 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 March 2018
Approval Date: 24 April 2018
Submission Date: 6 April 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 59
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bleak House, Great Expectations, Dickens, Charles Dickens, Victorian England, Victorian Novels
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2018 15:35
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2019 18:19


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