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By comparing the portrayal of two characters in Great Expectations show how the novel can be read as a comment on Victorian society and values.

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Introduction

H/W Great Expectations 5/7/07 By comparing the portrayal of two characters in Great Expectations show how the novel can be read as a comment on Victorian society and values. In 'Great Expectations,' Dickens wants the reader to realise what life was really like living in Victorian times. The title Great Expectations shows us how most people in those times wanted to strive harder no matter of their social status, whether they were already high up or not. The story line also shows this - a young boy living with a simple-minded blacksmith and his wife (the boy's sister) and how we follow his story. The boy, named Pip grows up and we see how he has changed because he tries to become what he thinks he should become as a result of influence from many other people. Dickens is criticising this social structure, especially he had personal troubles when he was a boy in the 19 Century. He was lucky enough to be sent to school at the age of 9 but after a short while, he was sent to work in a blacking factory, because his dad was imprisoned for debt. At the factory he had to go through "appalling conditions" as well as "loneliness and despair" (quotes from BBC History page). ...read more.

Middle

- he was "swinging his purse" in front of Pip and before n the same page, Pip says he produced the purse "with the greatest coolness." He seems to be someone who is free to almost play with their money and showing he is well-off. Also when we are first introduced to Jaggers on page 78 there is a clear difference between his and Joe's attitude to Pip. On Page 78 - Jaggers says to Pip "How do you come here?" Jaggers looks down at Pip as if he is worthless. At the time when Dickens wrote the book, people were often judged on appearances and Jaggers would have seen Pip as something he wouldn't normally deal with. However he has to deal with Pip and there is an uncertainty, and an uncomfortable feeling around Pip. Joe is welcoming to Pip, unlike Jaggers. When Joe first speaks to Pip, he warns him of Mrs Joe in a loving way. Also we immediately see that Pip is defended by Joe. "Joe peeped down at me over his leg." Joe is being kind to Pip by taking all the flack from Mrs Joe. As Joe is immediately being kind to Pip, the audience feel warmly to Joe and realise that he is and will be close to Pip. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rest of the paragraph below those lines, show real feelings and how Pip realises he's been so stupid. It shows the audience that you should be yourself, not something different. The audience and Pip both realise that we shouldn't forget our past and that in reality no matter how hard we try to change and get away from what we once we were, it's impossible to do. The audience recognize this when Joe goes to London, and Pip sees what he has become. We will always be the same person inside and that appearances are just that, and don't show what we really are. Dickens makes Pip into a classic example of this. Dickens teaches the audience and is saying, don't be something you are not and be yourself, but at the time these phrases weren't known and so Dickens is ahead of himself and that is what make the book special The book was and still is very popular, and the people who read it see the message of it, and that's what books are written for - to see a message from the author, mainly about the way people live. When Dickens wrote the book he may have thought his message was only prevalent at the time but the message still applies today. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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