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How far do you agree that Great Expectations is a condemnation of Dickens contemporary society?

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Introduction

How far do you agree that Great Expectations is a condemnation of Dickens? contemporary society? I believe that to quite a large extent, this statement appears to be true, because in the novel, Dickens? condemns the justice system and the class system, to show the injustice that is present in Victorian society. Firstly, Dickens shows his condemnation of the justice system by presenting the excessive influence of lawyers within the system; Jaggers made ?magistrates shiver under a single bite of his finger? which on the face of it is very concerning, because these people who must make a decision on whether a person is guilty or not, and so if a person has such great influence that they can make people ?shiver? with fear if they disagree with them, then something can be said to be wrong with the system, as everybody should be equal and not be threatened. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, the fact that a defence on the part of Compeyson was ?he you has afore you, side by side, two persons as your eyes can separate wide? always wi?his guilt brought home? is also interesting, because his lawyers are using their physical appearance and known stereotypes as defence, and this should not be present in a respected legal system, because a stereotype is a generalisation, and so cannot be true about everyone. Dickens condemns the fact that people can be made guilty just because of the social class that they belong to. Moreover, through the character of Pip, Dickens has shown just how influential the class system is, as his behaviour changes so distinctively after he has become a gentleman, so much so that he has begun to reject those who have always been there for him, like Joe. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although on the face of it, it seems that Pip?s rejection of Joe is unfounded, we can understand it better through a Marxist perspective, as it rejects ?determination of social decisions in accordance with private profits rather than human needs? and so from a Marxist perspective, the novel simply condemns that this social divide exists. However, other writers have discredited this view, as they argue that Pip?s guilt is just down to the fact that Dickens? later novels would be obsessed with guilt. Taking into account both of these ideas, there is definitely some credit in order for both, as on the one hand, the grotesque character of Miss Havisham and the rude character of Estella do show the upper classes alongside Pip?s behaviour, although the character of Orlick shows that the lower classes are still problematic. ...read more.

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