Reflect Character and the Issues Facing Victorian Society in ‘Great Expectations’ Essay Sample

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At the time when Dickens published Great Expectations, to make the book in 1860 the genre. Gothic, was an incredibly popular genres. Dickens uses gothic conventions to a great extent in Chapters one, eight and thirty nine. An Example of a typical gothic convention is the graveyard setting in chapter one. “the dark flat wildness beyond the churchyard”. This can be associated with many subjects one of these subjects being death; this brings out the emotional side of the reader as it links to Pip’s mother and father’s death. The reason being for the gothic genre being so popular at this era was the fact that Edgar Allan Poe release of the book “The Fall of the House of Usher.” This book changed people’s mind about the gothic genre and re-interpreted the way people looked at it. After this event in 1839 people fell in love with the gothic genre.

When Dickens first published Great Expectations in a periodical called “All The Year Round” over a period of nine months. The first episode was released on the 1st of December 1860; two chapters were released at once. This created cliff-hangers and led the reader to feel tension and suspense because he had to keep his readers interested and desperate to find out what happens next so they would buy the next instalment. An example of a cliff-hanger is the secret benefactor “Yes, Pip, dear boy, I’ve made a gentleman on you” made by Magwitch after Pip has found out in chapter thirty nine. The effect of these cliff-hangers and catchy plots help Great expectation to become the book it is today.

In chapter one, we are introduced to the protagonist, Pip. However, we are introduced to Phillip Pirrip as Pip because his infant tongue could not gather any more than Pip from his Christian name being Philip and his father name Pirrip being such alike. This shows that Pip must be uneducated. We can also tell, despite the lack of knowledge, that he has been educated a little because he can read the markings on the tombstone that quotes “Also Georgiana Wife of the above”. Pip is an orphan at seven when the novel starts, and in 1860 the mortality rate was on a very high scale because young children where force to go to work at a very young age and there parents we cooperating in very perilous jobs. We are introduced to the protagonist looking back at his life; this is interpreted in the way that Pip speaks in the past tense “I called my self Pip”.

This shows us that he prefer to call him self by the name Pip not I, this may infer that he is ashamed of his past. After the short introduction of Pip’s upbringing, Dickens goes straight in to the gothic conventions where Pip is deserted in a bleak graveyard. Pip is unfortunately in the graveyard because his parents died when he was at a young age. “As I never saw my father or my mother”. The use of gothic conventions in this chapter one is to build the tension and suspense to the upcoming event with the convict “Magwitch”. A setting that does this incredibly well would be “on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening” this is a very superior word because of the fact that it has not one, not two but many meanings; cold, damp, new and exposed. These are all very excellent because cold links to how Pip is feeling, damp would be the setting of the afternoon; these are both pathetic fallacy. New and exposed could convey on how vulnerable Pip is at the time. As we get close to the appearance of the convict Dickens uses several techniques to create tension and suspense. The use of an alliteration “Low lead line” suggests bars and boundaries which implies jail and could represent the up coming of the event.

Then we get a series of line that add to the vulnerability of Pip “The distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea; and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it” the use of “savage” relates to wildness which can be related to the setting and the convict this also connote the vulnerability of pip because the words such as “distant”, “small” and “afraid” make Pip feel like he’s very small and helpless in these situations. Then the appearance on the convict happens and he appears from the “graves at the side of the church porch” this could be trying to resemble the convict with the dead. Pip then mention that the man has no hat “A man with no hat” in the 1860s this would mean that you would come from the lower classes so he knows that it’s not going to be a pleasant sight. “With a great iron on his leg” The mentioning of the irons on his leg shows that he is a convict.

In chapter eight we are introduces to Miss Havisham, one of the more complex characters of the novel, we are also introduces to the love of Pip’s life Estella. With in this chapter Pip is invited to the house “Satis” to visit Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham has invited Pip over to play with Estella; the reason being for this is that Miss Havisham wants Estella to break the little boy’s heart. Going in the further detail and look at the setting of the “Satis” house we get this negative feeling like the one we did in chapter one. Almost a sense of gothic conventions. For example “No brewing was going on in it, and none seemed to have gone on it for a very long time” this shows us that the surrounding area is rather dull and deserted with no life. This could also connote the in side of the house and mention that Miss Havisham is dull and there is no life with in the house.

Proof give my explanation is the quote “all was empty and disused”. As Pip approaches the house we mention the change in temperature “the cold wind seemed to blow colder here” this illustrates a supernatural feeling with is part of the gothic genre and is also pathetic fallacy, the sudden change in temperature could connote Miss Havisham and how she is cold hearted. Pip also mentions that “grass was growing in every crerice” this shows that the house is neglected and not cared. Theses points could resemble Miss Havisham. The word “crerice” meaning crack is rather cleaver because dickens could be relating the cracks in the pavement to the cracks in Miss Havisham’s life that will never be for filled.

But different interpretations of this quote could be that Estella is the grass that is able to grow, despite her environment. After Pip is introduces to Miss Havisam he realises that all the clocks are stopped at twenty to nine. “stopped like her watch and clock a long time ago” the reason behind Miss Havisham stopping her clocks at twenty to nine is that, that was the time we husband run away from her at there wedding. But the clock stopping a long time a go could suggest that Miss Havisham has also stopped and there is no movement no change and no contentment. When Pip is told to play with Estella he takes his chance to get to know her a little better but Estella does not want to play, but after Miss Havisham quoted “Well? You can break his heart” decides to. In the 1860 the mother good was to keep the house hold spotless, and bring respect, happiness, comfort and physical well being to her family and guests; however she does not bring any of these to Pip, those days it would almost be a crime.

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