such as I have seen pervade the bearing of a child towards a hard master.

Category: Writing & Reading | Type: Discussion | Title: Great Expectations (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: Chapter XVI

The assailant has rendered her childlike, bludgeoned into softness her unwomanly hardness and made her docile and anxious, like a child. Regrettably nothing less than such a beating could restore her to something like her childhood self may have been. As in A Christmas Carol, Scrooge learns compassion from reflecting on his condition as a child, and in The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, memory's recovery of a much earlier condtion reawakens compassion. 

Dickens deals often with figures whose childhood persists into their adulthood (Maggie in Little Dorrit is an extreme instance) and, conversely, with children who, having to become parent-like with their irresponsible parents, Little Dorrit herself is an example, must sacrifice much of their childhood to protect their childish parents.

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