The Dual Nature Of Sin In Charles DickensThe Bible
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Charles Dickens adapts biblical text to expose the complexities of sin. Through allusions and imagery of the Old Testament, Dickens mirrors many of his characters and settings to that of Genesis in The Bible. Dickens adapts select imagery, however, to expose how the entangling nature of original sin and ultimate forgiveness exist within a modern human context. For example, Dickens repeatedly references gardens in allusion to the Garden of Eden, but he alludes to the garden in twisted ways: paradise is a dilapidated, rotting English garden wrought with sin. Through slight distortions in his allusions, Dickens exposes the complex, often confusing, nature of Biblical text and interpretation. Similarly, Dickens distorts the dual nature of sin and forgiveness through biblical allusion. Though he recognizes the existence of sin, Dickens specifically highlights how sin is both permanent and forgivable. It is through acts of basic goodness that sin can be forgiven. In this essay, I will explore how Dickens’ exploration of the Genesis stories exposes the convoluted nature of sin and forgiveness in Christianity.
Dickens initially uses geography of rural England to mirror Genesis 2. Joe’s forge and Miss Havisham’s home are both located in Kent: a small, secluded county in eastern England. Similarly, God ambiguously places the Garden of Eden in “the East” in Genesis 2(ESV, Gen. 2.8). For young Pip, Kent acts as a scant, odd kind of Eden: it is, at once, both a place of simple, implicit