We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

How Dickens Establishes the Identity of Young Pip in the First Part of the Novel Essay Sample

The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC
  • Pages:
  • Word count: 957
  • Category: dickens

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

How Dickens Establishes the Identity of Young Pip in the First Part of the Novel Essay Sample

The novel ‘Great Expectations’ was first published in 1860-1861 and written by Charles Dickens. Dickens uses the idea of the buildungsronam to establish his main characters identity, however he contradicts this genre in some ways as it is the protagonist (Pip) telling the story instead of Dickens himself. This novel was originally three volumes and in the first, we follow the life of Pip from infancy to a young man.

Our first impression of Pip, in chapter 1 reveals him as a ‘small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry’. This establishes him ass a fragile boy in his youth, scared of the world.

From reading chapter two we learn that Pip and Joe share a relationship of ‘equals’ and is ‘raised by hand’ by his sister.

We learn that this novel is a buildungsronam because it is a story of a struggle of a small child, orphaned at a young age, as the grows up. Dickens uses this genre to establish the identity of his protagonist.

As Pip the protagonist takes food to the convict he feels very guilty; so guilty that he imagines that the ox can talk, this illustrates Pip’s characteristics as very imaginative, frightened and has a big conscious.

Dickens uses the setting to convey the characters feelings by use of language such as ‘goblin’ and ‘phantom’ to describe the setting which makes it sound scary, which reflects Pip’s feelings for he is scared. Dickens uses the scenery and setting to symbolise Pip’s feelings. He often uses this method to give an insight to Pip’s emotions, like at Satis House. The darkness of the house represents Pip’s fear of Miss Havisham and he seems to imagine shrilling noises.

The language used by Estella and Miss Havisham show their superiority to Pip, they use more complicated words and longer sentences which Pip fails to understand and Estella calls Pip ‘boy’ which shows she feels superior and wants to undermine him. Pip’s circumstance would rarely occur in Victorian society, the upper class and lower class almost never socialised, only a few people had such good fortune like Pip.

As Pip learns that he is working class, he becomes depressed and feels anger; ‘I took the opportunity to being alone in the courtyard to look at my course hands and my common boots. My opinion of those accessories was not favourable. They had never troubled me before, but they troubled me now, as vulgar appendages’. In a way as Pip goes to see Miss Havisham he looses this innocence and becomes unhappy.

The first person narrative increases the sympathy and understanding we feel towards Pip because he expresses his emotions and reasons for his emotions or action; ‘And my terror was greatest of all, when I found no figure there’. We can also see that his emotions are effected by Estella and the need please her; ‘…I was a common labouring boy; that my hands were coarse…’, so he may gain her favour. We feel sympathy, for he is unable to gain Estella’s love because Miss Havisham raises her to be heard hearted.

After Pip’s visits to Satis House his feelings and relationship alter dramatically, he feels anger and pities Joe, no longer thinking him an equal; his language becomes more sophisticated and he behaves more haughtily. He calls his friends like Joe and Biddy ‘poor creatures’. Pip’s desire to change is reflected in chapter ten; ‘I could take towards making myself uncommon’ and his dissatisfaction can be seen when he says, ‘It is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home’. This quote also shows Pip the narrators’ regrets of being dissatisfied and also when it says, ‘It is about the only thing I am glad to know of myself in that connection’, he’s ashamed of how he acted, and realises his mistakes.

At the end of volume one in chapter nineteen we see Pip realises the values of home; ‘I was after I had cried, than before more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle’, this quote typically conveys a bildungsroman, because at the end of a bildungsroman the protagonist assesses himself.

Through reading this novels first volume, in chapter seven we gain understanding of education amongst working class citizens. It is clear that education was very poor, we see this through a letter written by Pip, it is an immature attempt on a chalk board he shows to Joe, who is in awe. Also in chapter ten when pip describes his classroom (pg 75, lines 19-29). Through this we see that Dickens attitude towards education among the poor was that they lacked knowledge to teach themselves but they wished to learn. He makes fun on some of the ideas of Victorian society, such as children should be see and not heard, like the table scene on Christmas day, where Pip’s family sat to eat.

From reading chapters one to nineteen we see tat Pip as the narrator regrets his behaviour during his early years, he has now learnt the values of home. Dickens uses many devices to make the reader feel closer to Pip, we follow him through his childhood and until he is a young adult, his thoughts and emotions are expressed to us which helps the reader establish his identity. Dickens uses language to reflect Pip’s emotions, so when he is frightened the marshes are described as ‘clouds of smoke’ which sounds terrifying.

At the beginning Pip is naive and innocent, he is described as a ‘bundle of shivers’ this is typical of bildungsroman, for the protagonist is often a frail young person, orphaned at a young age.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

How Does Dickens Create Suspense in The...

The Signalman written by Charles Dickens in 1866 is a short story that falls into the gothic fiction genre. This particular style of writing combines elements such as the supernatural, castles, darkness, madness and the unknown. At the time the story was being written, the industrial revolution was in full force. This had a huge impact on society at the time. It improved the standard...

An Exploration of the Relationship Between Pip...

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812. Dickens was sent to school at the age of seven, this proved fairly pointless as Dickens' father, John Dickens, soon fell into debt and was put into prison, the rest of the Dickens family, due to finances were forced to join their father in prison, although Charles was made to work . So at the age of...

"The Signal-Man" by Charles Dickens and "The...

In your answer you should consider: * The use of setting * Presentation of characters * Contextual information * Anything else you think is relevant Suspense can incorporate tension, anticipation, fear and also anxiety. Charles Dickens wrote 'The Signal-Man' when the stream engine was a piece of cutting-edge technology and he himself was involved in two train accidents, during one of which he was in...

"Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens

On the edge of London, was a compact housing estate with lots of children. The houses were quite small but everyone knew everyone and there was a big green in the middle of the estate where the children could come together and play what ever they wanted. Tucked away in the corner of Whinlatter Drive was the house of Oliver Bates. Oliver Bates was a...

Sympathy Towards Pip in Great Expectations

In Great Expectations Dickens uses different techniques to deliberately create sympathy for the character Pip in his opening exchanges with Miss Havisham and Estella. This essay will analyse and reflect on the ways in which Charles Dickens does this. The first meeting between Pip and Miss Havisham is arranged by Mr Pumblechook (Pip's uncle) when he hears that Miss Havisham wants a boy to go...

Get Access To The Full Essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?