• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Show how Dickens uses settings in Great Expectations to enhance our understanding of character and the symbolic elements of the plot - Great expectations

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Show how Dickens uses settings in Great Expectations to enhance our understanding of character and the symbolic elements of the plot As we notice in the novel 'Great Expectations', Charles Dickens uses many different narrative techniques other than the usual description. One of these techniques is that of describing character through a specific setting. There are a few of these very detailed descriptions in chapter eight (Satis House), chapter twenty (Mr. Jaggers' office), chapter twenty-one (Barnard's Inn), chapter twenty-five (Wemmick's castle) and chapter twenty-six (Mr. Jaggers' house). When Pip first arrives at Satis House (chapter 8 pages 52-53) we have a great description of the setting, and by looking at the adjectives we get more of an idea of the atmosphere it conforms to: "old", "dismal", "empty", "disused", "walled up, "enclosed" and "rustily barred". There is an overall sense of dilapidation, and the last three adjectives in particular remind us of the image of a prison, which appears throughout the whole book. ...read more.

Middle

It is a "dismal" place (Dickens repeats this word four times in one sentence), "melancholic", "rotten", "dilapidated", "crippled", "cracked", "collapsing", "miserable" and "empty" (chapter 21 page 168). In this setting, other than the element of ruin there is an element of death present, especially in the following two sentences: "A frouzy mourning of soot and smoke" (mourning is usually meant by the remembrance of the deceased) and "I opened the staircase window and nearly beheaded myself...it came down like the guillotine" (chapter 21 page 169). Wemmick's castle is one of the most 'normal' households in 'Great Expectations'. It is situated in the district of Walworth, which already tells us something about it and its inhabitants: that they are worth something. It is "a little wooden cottage in the midst of plots of garden, and the top of it cut out and painted like a battery mounted with guns" (chapter 25 page 202). It is an extremely small house, the smallest house Pip ever saw, but its particularity is that it is made to resemble by many means a castle. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jaggers' home is located in the district of Little Britain, which means it encloses most of the negative aspects of life in Britain in those days. It is "dolefully in want of painting, and with dirty windows" (chapter 26 page 207). The house is made up of a "stone hall, bare gloomy and little used" and "three dark brown rooms on the first floor"(chapter 26 page 207). The "carved garlands on the panelled walls" (chapter 26 page 207) remind Pip of nooses, returning to the element of death. We also notice that Mr. Jaggers' bookcase contains only books about "evidence, criminal law, criminal biography, trials and acts of parliament", and that there is also a "little table of papers with a shaded lamp" (chapter 26 page 208): unlike Wemmick, he has no private life, but brings his work home too. He has no family, no friends: the only important thing in his life is his job. From this analysis we can see that in 'Great Expectations' Dickens uses very successfully many other different narrative techniques other than basic description, and that the portrayal of settings can give us a great deal of information on character and other aspects. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Charles Dickens section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Charles Dickens essays

  1. How does Dickens use language in chapter 50 of Oliver Twist to show the ...

    Sikes which leads to the mob coming, Charley stands up to bates and a fight breaks out, the description of the fight is outstanding, 'Pouring out the cries, and accompanying them with violent gesticulation, the boy actually threw himself, single-handed, upon the strong man, and in the intensity of his

  2. Social class in Great Expectations and its effect upon the characters

    In addition, Dickens uses pathetic fallacy frequently to imply that a dramatic event is about to unfold and to create a specific atmosphere. For instance, when Pip travels through the mist on his journey to London, the mist may not only represent the air of uncertainty that surrounds the new advance in Pip's life but may also forebode serious consequences.

  1. Compare chapter one of Great Expectations(TM) in which Pip first meets the convict, with ...

    The convict is so grateful that he has been trying to give Pip a better life and therefore thinks himself as Pips 'second father'. In both chapters we hear of bad weather before we meet the convict. In chapter one it is so cold that Pip is a 'bundle of shivers' and the wind is 'rushing'.

  2. How does Dickens use setting to convey the mood in the opening chapters of ...

    The second chapter shows Pip in a new setting - at home. Here, Pip lives a strict and ordered life, where he must always be on his best behaviour. His sister, Mrs Joe, regards him as a burden on her, and does not hold back in letting him know so.

  1. Trace the importance of duty and loyalty as demonstrated by at least three characters ...

    The sacrifice of Sydney Carton is an example of tremendous loyalty to Lucie and her family. Carton loves Lucie so much that he willingly gives up his life to save her husband, Charles Darnay.

  2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

    Pips family was poor, so they had to suffer and die. Many women died during childbirth, and poor people couldn't afford doctors, hospitals or health visitors. There was no such thing as a sewage system in those days and people threw their waste out onto the streets.

  1. Explore Joe Gargery's role in Great Expectations

    Joe, even though he is perhaps the most uneducated character (shown in the wording of the sentence) he can sometimes be the most wise and honourable. Because of this he acts as a hidden role model for Pip. Not only is he honourable and wise, he understands his place: ?I

  2. How successful is Dickens in gaining our interest as readers in the opening chapter ...

    create the sense that the convict will return, largely by building up a sense of mystery around the convict?s situation and his relationship with Pip. Dickens creates sympathy for Pip by making it explicitly clear that he has been deprived of parental guidance.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work