November 2, 2010
Punishment is Key
The way individuals grow in a moral sense is by experiencing new things and being able to discern what is right from what is wrong. The mechanism at work is punishment which is essentially a negative feedback loop. Without punishment enacted on those who perform acts deemed wrong, there would be no reason for these people to abstain from such behaviors. Punishment helps children understand that what they desire at the present time may not be as important in the future. There is a point when they come to the realization that their mother and father watching over them will not always be there but someone else will always be. Even though Tom is just a child, he does not have the mother or father figure to give him direction. However, he receives direction and guidance from spiritual constructs. These spiritual figures are the fairies, Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid, Mother Carey, and the unnamed reinforcing figure of karma. This idea of punishment is strengthened by demonstrating that sin will never be left unchecked and individuals will inevitably get what they deserve. The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley illustrates the belief that punishment is a necessary effect of sin to help individuals attain moral growth.
As soon as the text begins, the reader is shown that Tom is a chimney sweep and becomes physically dirty. Unfortunately for Tom, this is a physical representation of his morality. Others view Tom as a wasteful person who lacks the decency to care for his well being. This representation goes as far as identifying his low class, inadequate values and beliefs. For these reasons it was assumed that he had stolen something from Ellie’s room. His projection towards others and the way people perceive him is just one example of the indirect punishment Tom receives due to the way he looks. If others think his physical appearance is okay, he...