How “Great Expectations” Represents Childhood in Victorian Era Essay Sample

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Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on 7th of February 1812. He married at the age of 25 and had 10 children. He worked in a factory to help support his family as a child. He wrote over 30 different stories.

His pen-name “Boz”, was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era and one of the most popular of all time. He created some of literature’s most memorable characters. His novels and short stories have never gone out of print. A concern with what he saw as the pressing need for social reform is a theme that runs throughout his work.

Most of his work first appeared in periodicals and magazines in serialised form, a favoured way of publishing fiction at the time. Other writers of the time would complete entire novels before serial publication commenced, but Dickens often wrote his in parts, in the order in which they were meant to appear.

The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, punctuated by one cliffhanger after another to keep the public eager for the next instalment. Critics and fellow-novelists such as George Gissing and G. K. Chesterton have applauded Dickens for his mastery of prose, and for his teeming gallery of unique characters, many of whom have acquired iconic status in the English-speaking world. Others such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf have accused him of sentimentality and implausibility. He died on the 9th of June 1870.

Great expectations is about an orphan boy called pip who lived with his sister Mrs Joe gargery and her husband Joe gargery who lives beside a churchyard. During those times there were major issues with the way the children were living. The book is aimed to show how life was in the Victorian era. It explains how difficult people were living especially children. The Victorian era wasn’t a good place to live in.

In the story pip gives the convict (magwicth) some food because he was hungry. After he gave the convict the pie and the brandy, pip had guilt in him that he stole his sister’s pie from the cupboard.

Next, is sister (Mrs Joe Gargery) was always cruel to pip, when he came back one evening looking all over for him she beat him with tickler ( the cane) although he didn’t mean to go out on purpose he just wanted to place a flower in front of his mothers grave.

Also in the story, there is an old lady called Mrs Haversham. The man she was supposed to marry didn’t come to her wedding so, she stopped all the clocks on that day, since that day she never took off her wedding dress and left the place how it was set up for the wedding. Unfortunately, because off what happened to her, after she adopted the convict’s daughter (Estelle), she brought her up to hurt everymen who loves her and brought her up to be heartless to men and to hurt their feelings.

Thus pip was sent to London to by magwicth because of what he did to him. However he was brought up as a gentleman and later down the line he and Estelle fell in love and magwicth was saved. Although Mrs Haversham died of fire in her ball room. Whereas, pips sister Mrs Joe gargery died of disease that were spreading around at that time.

How does Charles dickens represent life for children in the Victorian era in the novel great expectations?

Charles dickens represents childhood because he was once a child in the Victorian era and he knows the difficulties of life being a child at that time. Charles has always had the ambition to be a gentlemen and an engineer when he was young but, his desire was to be a writer.

Children died at an early age because they there were different diseases spreading around, however the main cause of the illness comes from the way they live, because they cant afford nothing in those days. This evidence is shown in the quotes of the story: ” To five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long, which were arranged in a neat row beside their grave, and were sacred to the memory of five little brothers of mine- who gave up trying to get a living, exceedingly early in that universal struggle- I am indebted for a belief I religiously entertained that they had all been born on their backs with their hands in their trousers-pockets, and had never taken them out in this state of existence.”

This quote is important because it makes us feel a bit of sympathy for pip and his family and it also makes us understand that life in the Victorian era was hard and difficult for kids in those days. It also shows that back then, they couldn’t make the expense of money because they were from the lower class area.

This quote also proves that children died at an early age as the main character of the story can be seen standing over five tiny graves that were once his brothers. This was quite common in the Victorian era.

The children lived in poor wealth and poverty that’s why they die not only for the diseases spreading around but it’s also because most of them are orphans.

Children didn’t go to school because they couldn’t meet the expense of money, so they had to picture things in their mind.

Nearly ever children in the Victorian era lived in poor circumstances, because some of them are primarily orphans.

They also didn’t have a sufficient amount food, so they had to use it prudently. The food they regularly eat isn’t a suitable approach of eating, because they didn’t have a preference.

Also, food was sparse and of poor quality in the Victorian era. When a child does something, they get beaten by adults. Children were easily manipulated in the Victorian era, because they can’t manipulate adults, to do, what they want, because they are clever enough than a child, so they manipulate the child instead.

Pip was visualizing how mother is and father had looked like before they died, because there weren’t photographs in those days for him to see how they looked like. Joes forge is adjoined to pips house, which was a wooden house, because pips home wasn’t a proper home to live in, because it’s insignificant.

Children could only go to school if they were from the upper class.

In conclusion, I liked the fact that, even though pip was living in poor conditions, he still made use of his time as a poor person and an orphan. I also liked the fact that even though he loved Estella and she didn’t love him he didn’t care if she hurt his feelings its just that he thinks that she is very pretty and that she is very insulting.

In conclusion, I disliked the fact that his sister was always mean and selfish to him and she treated him very poorly and she also brought him up by hand. I didn’t like the facts that miss haversham brought up Estella to hurt every man that loves her. It’s very bad to do such a thing, just because the man that was supposed to marry her cancelled the wedding she chose to put it on someone else’s life.

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