[Walter Allen includes Great Expectations along with works of Thomas Hardy, William Faulkner, and Elizabeth Bowen in a group of novels] characterized by a peculiarly intense relationship between the characters and their immediate environments. Character and environment are impregnated with each other. To some extent environment is, as it were, humanized; and the character himself is as he is because of the environment and cannot be detached from it; it is a necessary element for his existence, a special kind of air. The immediate environment exists, even, in a symbolic relation to the character; this is plain if one thinks of the decaying mansions in Faulkner's novels. In other words, in such novels the ambience in which characters move is as important as the characters themselves. [p. 98]


Allen, Walter. The English Novel: A Short Critical History. New York: Dutton, 1958.

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