Smith Social Sensitivity

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Eighteenth-century England, as recreated in Garfield's novel, is a lawless society. Traditional justice is shown to be mistaken, unkind, and inadequate.

The reader's sympathy goes to the petty thieves, highwaymen, and debtors whose actions are depicted as attempts to survive in a hostile world and whose accomplishments, like those of Lord Tom, are glamorous and exciting. The Mansfields, who live by a less opportunistic code, are helpless, deluded, and often unhappy. The complex character of Miss Mansfield, for example, shows the strain of subduing her naturally "peevish" nature in order to treat her father with the gentleness that makes her appear a "saint" in his blind eyes.

Garfield does not condemn the value system of traditional society, but he does emphasize that people should not be judged by class, appearance, or education. Both Mansfields are deluded about Smith's goodness and Mr. Billing's evil, suggesting that traditional...

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This section contains 162 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Smith Short Guide
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