“Seduction” by Eileen McAuley and “Great expectations” by Charles Dickens Essay Sample
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Introduction of TOPIC
I was surprised to find many similarities between the two genres. This was surprising because they were written in different centuries by different authors. Some examples of similarities are the characters, settings and styles of writing used by the authors.
‘Seduction’ by Eileen McAuley conveys the relationship between an innocent young female and an older uneducated male. You may notice that McAuley does not give the boy and girl in the poem names to suggest that it can happen to anyone. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens conveys the relationship between a plebeian named Pip and a self-possessed woman called Estella. In both there is victim, in Seduction the girl is the victim of the boys bullying. It is the other way round in seduction as the girl; Estella is the bully and Pip the younger of the two is the victim. In both writings the younger child is the victim showing that the younger you are the more vulnerable you are.
In Seduction the older boy is knowledgeable about the world, “The Quiet blocks of Birkenhead docks,” he knows what he is doing, he is experienced and leads her to a rough, rundown ally area away from prying eyes where he can take advantage of an innocent and naive young female. He is very selfish and his actions are insensitive towards the girl. This proves that if she falls in love with him it will cause her pain, “With eyes like iodine.” This simile symbolises that if the girl falls in love with him she will suffer. Iodine is a liquid substance which when touches the skin, burns.
The poem also suggested that the boy comes from a bad background, “Leather jacket creaking madly,” his leather jacket is cheap and nasty like him. He also shows a number of other bad habits which including spitting and solvent abuse. The boy delivers the idea that he is more knowledgeable than the girl in these situations, “Stroked her neck and thighs,” these are erogenous zones, which only an experienced person would know. He knows what he wants and how to get it. If the girl was sober she would have never fallen in love with him. For a start his chat up lines leave much to be desired. The only topics the boy knows anything about are male interests, “McGuigan fight,” McAuley puts across the stereotype that only males are interested in football and boxing, and that he is being very insensitive talking to the girls about these subjects. He knows how to turn her on but not communicate. The poet describes the water by the docks as having “frightening scum” floating on it; this is to suggest that the boy is scum.
In seduction the girl is drunk and not able to concentrate, she “Nodded quite enchanted,” at the boys topics when usually she would not be interested in these subjects like football and boxing. This shows that she is drunk and therefore easily seduced. The more she had to drink the more “she fell in love” with him. This confirms that it is false love and that she is not loving him but loving the drink. The poet also writes that the girl is extremely clever, “O levels she’d be sitting in June,” back then they had CSEs and O levels. GCSEs higher papers are the equivalent to O levels and GCSEs foundation papers are equivalent CSEs. This indicates the girl is smart and she would not usually go with a boy with his mentality. She is clever but not street-wise like the boy. McAuley uses the girl’s “All high white shoes,” to symbolise her. White portrays purity, innocence and cleanliness. Not a “slag” as the boy suggests. This is in contrast with his “leather jacket creaking madly” which is most likely black and full of sin.
In Great Expectations the main characters are opposites. Pip is in contrast to Estella. She considers him to be a plebeian, whereas she is very ignorant and portrays a rich up bringing, even though her father was a convict and her mother a maid. She is “Very pretty and seemed very proud,” and he is “A common labouring boy,” Pip is poor, Estella is rich and lives in a plush house. She has the keys, which open the doors of opportunity. This indicates that she has power and control over a poor and innocent boy. The only commonality between Pip and Estella are that they are orphans. Both of them have had a traumatised up bringing. Pip respects Estella even though she treats him like a worthless person, “Dreadful liberty,” Pip understands the circumstances he is in. He is in a plush house and knows his place in life. Despite Pip’s poor upbringing he respects Estella’s place in the community. Although Pip has respect for Estella, Estella has no regard for Pip, “Coarse hands he has! And what thick boots,” This is very critical of Pip. Before Pip met Estella he had never taken notice that he was a “common labouring boy,” Undermining he’s self-esteem making him feel worthless.
Although Great Expectations was written in the 19th century, close analysis reveals a number of similarities in the relationship between the boy and girl in each case.
Both bullies are influenced by their parents. An example of this from seduction is when McAudly says the boy looks at his “dads magazines,” t
he boy is easily affected by his father’s bad habits. Looking at these magazines gives the boy
Miss Havisham has over reacted to what happened to her and is now self absorbed, “Her watch had stopped at twenty minutes to nine and…… a clock in the room,” Mrs Havisham was meant to get married but was betrayed waiting at the alter at twenty minutes to nine. This could symbolise when her life ended mentally but not physically and her revenge on men began.
Also in both genres there is a victim and a harasser. The victim in seduction is the girl. McAudley shows she is the victim as the boy calls the girl a “little slag.” In Great expectation, Pip is the victim. Dickens shows this by Estella saying that Pip has “coarse hands” and having “common boots.” Both victims find these nasty things offensive and react in different ways. Pip was “humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry,” Pip has never had this done to him before because of this he doesn’t know what to do and he has no good adult figure. Dickens uses many words to describe the way that Pip feels because it shows how hurt he is. As Pip is so angry he ” kicked the wall and took a hard twist at my hair, so bitter were my feelings.” Pip is frustrated at the way he is being treated, especially because he knows that he can do nothing to fight back with words or fists. In the 19th century the separation between poor and rich was very great and Pip knows he cannot do any thing to the upper class.
Both harasers get something out of the victims. In Great Expectations, Estella enjoys being the cause of Pips pain and hurt, “The girl looked at me with a quick delight in having been the cause of them,” This is extremely spoilt and selfish of Estella, because Pip has treated her with the up most respect and she has treated him like a nobody. Dickens reinforces the idea of how much pleasure Estella is getting out of Pip’s pain, “She gave me a triumphant glance in passing me,” Estella is proud of how common she has made Pip feel. In seduction the boy gets what her wants which is to have sex with the girl.
The girl reacts in a different way to Pip. She is equally as angry but like Pip can’t turn to any one for advice as it is thought to be disgusting to be pregnant at that her age. To show her anger “she ripped up all her My Guy and her Jackie photo comics.” These comics promised her a relationship but she feels cheated by all the exaggerations that the magazines told her. McAudley describes the ripped up magazines “like confetti.” This is ironic because confetti symbolises marriage and happiness. Which is the exact opposite to the reality of her experience. McAuley also writes about how the once naive young female has turned into a teenage mother, “She broke the heels, of her high white shoes,” This symbolises that the girl has lost her virginity and is no longer innocent. By losing her virginity she has lost her youth and gained many adult responsibilities which is not wanted at her age as she wants to be enjoying her self. ‘Three girls paddling.’ This is what she should be doing if she wasn’t pregnant. She would be enjoying herself in Blackpool ‘jumping all the rides.’
After being bullied the two victims are ashamed of themselves. Dickens shows us this on the last line when Pip thinks to himself that he “was in a low lived, bad way.” Before Pip went to Estella’s house he was confident and was probably enjoying life. When he left he felt dirty as Estella and Miss Havisham treated him like dirt. The Girl in Seduction also heels dirty but she is scared about what other people will say behind her back. “you always looked the type.” She is scared of this as she knows and also the reader that she is a nice, friendly and intelligent teenager. In the seventies or eighties it was seen as disgusting to have a child before you were married, this is why she is scared people will see her as scum.
The setting in both extract and poem is dark, creepy and isolated. The main similarity is that both are set in the darkness. In both genres, darkness is evil and awful things can happen. The reason for darkness in seduction is that it is set at night. “early Sunday morning.” This quotation shows she is in darkness as it is early in the morning probably one or two AM. As it is so early in the morning no one will be out but in bed, safe from the evil, which the girl encountered. ‘Blind windows.’ This is a personification because McAudley is giving the windows human qualities. The windows are not really blind, but she describes them as blind as the lights are switched off and no one is in the building to see the boy inflicting evil on the innocent girl. Another example of no one being able to see two is when the boy says “by myself.” This shows that he has planned this out, as he knows that there will be no one else there to ruin his plan to have sex with the drunken girl.
He takes the girl to ‘the Mersey,’ which is in Liverpool and is not a very nice place as the author describes it as ‘green as a septic wound.’ This simile is revolting, as ‘septic wounds’ are associated with disease. If the boy was looking for romance he would take her somewhere glamorous, stylish and expensive. As he is only looking for sex he takes her somewhere isolated so he can take advantage of her.
The extract from ‘Great expectations’ like seduction has the feeling of isolation. An example of this is when Estella ‘locked the gate.’ This shows that Estella wants no one in so she can inflict her evil upon him and he won’t beadle to escape. Also her mother, Miss Havisham hates men and doesn’t want to see them.
Both authors Dickens and McAudley, try to build tension when the two victims are trapped. When Estella ‘locked the gate,’ Pip had no where to go. He was inside a house he was unfamiliar with and locked in with strangers. This will cause the audience or reader to feel uncomfortable, as Pip is a small boy and fell sorry for him as he is trapped and cant escape. The audience will also fell uncomfortable when reading ‘Seduction’ as they read about the girl being lead to where nobody else goes. She is also young and the reader will have by now worked out the plan of the boy, which is to get her drunk and have sex with her.
Even though the two writings were written about one hundred years away from each other, there are still some similarities between the two authors styles of writing.
Both authors use similes to describe the setting. In ‘Seduction,’ McAudley describes the setting by saying ‘green as a septic wound.’ Dickens the author of Great expectations describes the setting by saying ‘like the noise of wind.’ These similes and metaphors allow the authors to use strong adjectives like ‘frightening’ used in ‘Seduction’ and ‘enormous lie’ in the extract of Great Expectations.