Great Expectations Gothic Settings Essay Sample

Great Expectations Gothic Settings Pages
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Dickens begins his book by starting with Pip at the graveyard to create atmosphere and tension, by referring to death and tombstones. The story is set in a time were disease and death were common, before any major advances in medicine, and it was ordinary to loose a lot of your close family to illness. We are told by Pip, that his mother, father, and five little brothers were buried there but that is all we are told.

In Chapter 1 tension is started off when Philip known as Pip hadn’t seen his parents of any kind, Charles Dickens stated that in 1960 – 1961 they never had photographs of any kind, therefore Pip didn’t even know what his parents looked like.

Pip was able to see his parent’s tombstones; the shape of the letters on his father’s grave gave him an odd feeling that his father was a square, stout, dark man with curly black hair. He saw his mother in his imagination as a freckled and sickly lady, remember the only site of his parents he had was his imagination. .We view the dark and ominous looking clouds and the trees, which look like intimidating faces through Pip’s eyes. This is because Charles Dickens wishes the viewer to sympathize for Pip, and so allows the viewer into Pips imagination and thoughts. The setting of a lonely boy on his own in the immense marshland contributes to Pip’s vulnerability. Pip had an older sister who acted very much like a mother, her name was Mrs Joe Gargery and she was married too a blacksmith Mr Joe Gargery.

There was a churchyard which was overgrown with nettles. That’s the place where his family were buried as so other people too. The wind was rushing, so was the sea small bundles of shivers growing afraid of it and Pip the young boy was beginning to cry. Pip was a young boy, he must have been scared, fear was building inside him and tension was creeping in. Pip the young boy heard a voice “keep still, you little devil, or ill cut your throat!” The voice Pip heard scared the living daylights out of him. The voice certainly created tension as Pip was scared for his life, he had a great amount of fear at that point in time and his blood was rushing through his body. Pip pleaded for his life, what else could he do, he’s only about 10 years old and his life is at threat at such a young age, anyone at that age would be scared

Dickens portrayal of his protagonist, Pip, reveals a character who is a victim of the harsh, oppressive Victorian society. When we are first introduced to Pip, we are plunged into the stark awareness that he is a helpless orphan, without companionship in a desolate graveyard. This is demonstrated by the quote “A bundle of shivers” He seems inconsequential then, to his surroundings which Dickens portrays through his imaginative description of the mistiness. When Pip headed towards the churchyard, it appears to be very misty, this is illustrated by the quote ‘ In the confusion of the mist’ this mistiness reiterates his morally unclear confusion, this explains how he is not only confused but furthermore nervous and that everything he sees is unclear.

Dickens also makes Pip sound isolated by saying “the dark flat wilderness”. It makes the reader feel something creepy is going to happen as Dickens built up tension for a special event

Our first impression of Magwitch is, just as Charles Dickens intended, of a frightening and dangerous man whose “terrible voice” terrifies Pip and immediately turns us, the readers against him. Dickens does this to reinforce the fact that he is, after all, a criminal, and to highlight the clichéd views of the general public.

The answer to this question lies in the gothic setting of both the graveyard scene (a typical gothic ingredient) and also Satis House. In Chapter 1, sympathy is evoked with the poignant picture of Pip weeping over the graves of his dead family, clearly endearing him to the reader. Also, the landscape is described as the “dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard”. Suddenly, a stranger pops up from behind a tombstone, as we can only imagine what a young Pip would have made of this event – the rise of the dead, perhaps? Surely, when Magwitch goes, in Pip’s imagination there is something clearly horrific in his leaving: As I saw him go, picking his way among the nettles, and among the brambles that bound the green mounds, he looked in my young eyes as if he was eluding the hands of the dead people, stretching up cautiously out of their graves, to get a twist upon his ankle and pull him in. Lastly, the inclusion of the gibbets at the end of the chapter all combine to create a gothic, brooding and menacing atmosphere, with the possibility of death never to far away. Important to note as this is the first Chapter of the novel, and therefore sets the scene for everything that is to follow. In Chapter 8, the description of Satis house is very similar, with its darkened rooms with “no glimpse of daylight.”

The appearance of the faded and yellowed Miss Havisham in her faded and yellowed wedding dress only excites curiosity and anticipation, and again we see here a deliberate gothic overtone with Pip’s first impressions of her: Once, I had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not what impossible personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress, that had been dug out of a vault under the church pavement. Now, waxwork and skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. In the person of Miss Havisham therefore, the border line between dead and alive seems truly blurred: a central preoccupation of the Gothic. To examine how sympathy is evoked for Pip, you need look no further than the condescending treatment he receives at the hands of Estella, and the way that she rejoices in her discomfort and the ability she has to embarrass him: I was so humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry – I cannot hit upon the right name for the smart – God knows what its name was – that tears started to my eyes. The moment they sprang there, the girl looked at me with quick delight in having been the cause of them. Estella’s character is thus established in her first appearance as a character that rejoices in hurting and causing pain in others, and we as readers are made to sympathise with Pip in his position.

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