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Compare and Contrast Dickens’ “Great Expectations” with Frost’s “The Runaway” looking specifically at the theme of fear.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast Dickens' "Great Expectations" with Frost's "The Runaway" looking specifically at the theme of fear. For this essay I will be comparing "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens with "The Runaway" by Robert Frost specifically looking at the theme of fear. "Great Expectations" was written as a series in a popular magazine in 1861 and later published as a novel while "The Runaway" is a poem written in America in 1924. I will be analyzing five separate areas that both writers use to portray fear; the social and historical context of the pieces, the settings of both, the main characters and more importantly why they are frightened, the physical signs of fear shown by the characters, what scares them and the language and style that the writers use. "Great Expectations" was written in a time when violent criminals were placed on floating prisons where they were shipped to Australia, this was abolished in 1868, 7 years after "Great Expectations" had been written. The opening chapter would have been very disquieting to the readers. The rest of the book looks human at nature and its opportunities. Dickens was often credited with capturing the thoughts of children and getting inside their minds and experiences. He often wrote about compassion for the poor and abused children which probably came from his own experiences, when he was twelve years old he was forced to work in a blackening factory for six months while his father was sent to debtors prison. ...read more.

Middle

or at least cause him harm and that he is not scared at all, because Pip does not use this time to escape could show us that he is paralyzed with fear and is unable to run or proves that he believes Magwich will be able to catch him no matter where he runs. Physical signs of fear in "The Runaway" are, when the colt is shown to be in a state of abnormally high level of alertness, "A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall,` the other curled up at his breast" this shows that the colt is ready to bolt at any moment because he is confused by what is happening and indeed does ultimately bolt, "He dipped his head and snorted at us. And then he had to bolt" the use of the word "had" suggests that the colt is overcome by his primeval instincts that tell him to bolt as he does not know how to react normally. Also another sign of fear is when he returns, "and now here he comes again with a clatter of stone, and mounts the wall again with whited eyes and all his tail that isn't hair up straight." "mounts", "white" and "hair up straight" are all physical signs of fear but the colt must be confused because he returns to the spot where he was first frightened by the two people or it could be the place he usually finds his mother and so feels closer to her there and feels less scared, it could be said that ...read more.

Conclusion

Frosts use of dialect is clear in, "Sakes, It's only the weather" and the rest of his language is simple rather like Magwich's. Frosts use of language is more like Magwich's than to Pip's. The structure of "Great Expectations" is different to "The Runaway" because the novel has the time to develop characters and weave many plots can involve a lot of descriptive writing as well as following characters over a long period of time. "The Runaway" on the other hand being a poem can only represent a snapshot in time and must rely on metaphors and imagery to create a scene and there is no time to show character development. Overall I feel both texts are successful at putting across the idea of fear and have more in common with each other than is first apparent. I have discovered that the English Novel was written as a very complex piece of writing and was possibly aimed at the highly educated gentry of England in Victorian times while entirely the contrary the American poem is very simplistic in its language and syntax in order to appeal to the masses. The two writers differ immensely in what they are trying to achieve by their writing, Dickens is trying to make people aware of the social injustices I place at the time regarding the judicial system and social class among other things. Frost meanwhile was trying to educate the masses to the beauty and complexity of nature through the simple use of poetry. Page 1 of 6 1/16/2008 ...read more.

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