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Prison Realizations Essay

1284 words - 6 pages

Prison Realizations
Throughout this semester, and the multiple readings covered, a number of different prison scenes have been encountered. In many cases the prisons function as a location that restricts certain kinds of movements and actions while enabling others. Overall, one underlying message of the prison encounters through the texts is that prison can help people reach some sort of realization. Some texts enable a realization of self, while other texts enable a realization of a society as a whole, but regardless some sort of realization is met. Some texts in particular that successfully do this are De Profundis, Moll Flanders, and “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”.
First of all, in De ...view middle of the document...

He also comes to learn that sinners are better off than people who have never sinned before in their life. He finds that people who sin and are punished for it go through a state of metamorphosis in which after you are punished for your sins, you ultimately become a better man that you ever were or ever would have been.
Second, another very intriguing story that shows self-realization in prison is Moll Flanders. Moll Flanders is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published in 1722. The novel follows the exciting life of the main character Moll from birth until old age. In the story, there is a prison known as Newgate that is one of the most talked about locations in the entire novel. In the story Moll ends up getting sent to Newgate Prison because of her acts of thievery. Newgate is the spot where Moll spends most of her times reforming and repenting her sins and attempts to change into the kind of person she wants to be. Newgate prison is where she is most commonly referred to as the infamous thief “Moll Flanders”. When Moll first gets sent to Newgate prison, it is the first time in her life where her whole life begins to change course from its downward spiral. When Moll first arrives at Newgate, her crimes finally start to catch up to her and she reminisces: “I looked around upon all the horrors of that dismal place. I looked on myself as lost, and that I had nothing to think of but of going out of the world, and that with the utmost infamy: the hellish noise, the roaring, swearing, and clamour, the stench and nastiness, and all the dreadful crowd of afflicting things that I saw there, joined together to make the place seem an emblem of hell itself, and a kind of an entrance into it” (Defoe, 163). This is the first point in Moll’s life where she realizes basically, that she’s been screwing up. In prison, Moll also comes to the realization that she can no longer con her way out of things, she can’t pretend to be a gentlewomen, she can’t flee from her current life, and she realizes that her old ways need to change and she begins to do this. “It was now that, for the first time, I felt any real signs of repentance. I now began to look back upon my past life with abhorrence, and having a kind of view into the other side of time, and things of life, as I believe they do with everybody at such a time, began to look with a different aspect, and quite another shape, than they did before” (Defoe, 93). To conclude, similarly to Oscar Wilde in De Profundis, Newgate prison...

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