Retributive Justice System

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Retributive justice, described in its literal sense, is a criminal justice system based on punishing the offenders rather than rehabilitating them. This is a quality often seem within Victorian literature, considered to be the “socially acceptable ending”. The villains are imprisoned or die, often left to be suffering alone; the hero is rewarded with wealth and happiness. It gives the reader an impression of cosmic justice; everything will work out if you are a good person. This is comforting for a person who believes that they are a good person, regardless of whether or not they are in reality. For the Victorian time period, where people highly valued strong morals -- and which women were often considered the backbone for -- an ending with…show more content…
The Gradgrind system never changes her, and she remains always honest, observant, and kind. Sissy nevers gives up on her father, always waiting for his return. Towards the end of the book, when Mr. Sleary is telling Mr. Gradgrind that her father may be dead, Thomas says, “She keeps the bottle he sent her for, to this hour; and she will believe in his affection to the last minute of her life” (p.282). Despite how she does not fit into the Gradgrind system, she never abandons them either. While that may partially due to her waiting for her father’s return, it also says that she is loyal enough to stay with the family even after she finishes her schooling. She acts as a guide for Mr. and Mrs. Gradgrind, as well as Louisa to return to a more normal, healthy attitude. Before Mrs. Gradgrind’s death, the woman mentions, “But there is something -- not an Ology at all -- that your father has missed, or forgotten, Louisa… I have often sat with Sissy near me, and thought about it” (p.194). Mrs. Gradgrind's death may have planted the seed for Louisa to come forth about her own unhappiness and emptiness to her father after James attempts to meet with her. After Louisa breaks down and collapses in Chapter Twelve, “Down”, Sissy is the first person to assist Louisa. The older girl questions how she can stay with her. “I felt very uncertain whether you would like to find me here,” she says at Louisa’s bedside. “I have always loved you, and have always wished that you should know it” (p.219). In Louisa’s dark hour, Sissy provides the unconditional love that the broken woman truly needs. This undoubtedly helps Louisa recover. Seeing Louisa, his favorite child, collapse in response to how he raised her, Thomas Gradgrind realizes that a life full of facts is barely a life at all. This is where he begins to change his own view on life. Both directly and indirectly, Sissy inspired the necessary change in these three characters
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