British society

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The nineteenth (19th) century was a period of great change and accompanying social unrest in the British Isles. Most outstanding among the changes was the industrial revolution. As everything in life, it brought good, but it also brought evil. The industrial revolution combined with the expansion of the British Empire made the United Kingdom, the richest and most powerful country in the world. Some of the islanders became unbelievably wealthy, but others, unfortunately, became unbelievably …

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…had never been born." Esther also ends up being affected by the movement, as she has to spend years away from Felix and experiences discomfort over the ownership of Harold's estate. So much so that she ends up giving it up and, it is concluded, having it revert to Harold. The intentions of the characters in the novel, then, are based on innocence and mistaken motives, not on malice, therefore, they are capable of redemption.