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Consider Dickens' use of settings in the novel Great Expectations.

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Introduction

GCSE English / Literature Coursework Pre 1914 Prose: Great Expectations Consider Dickens' use of settings in the novel Great Expectations Great Expectations is the story of a young boy called Pip's physical and emotional journey. The story starts when Pip meets an escaped convict in a churchyard near his home and gives him food and drink. The convict then disappears and is eventually recaptured. Then Pip is sent to Satis House which is occupied by an old woman called Miss Havisham, there Pip is attracted to her daughter, Estella. Later Pip travels to London where he is to be trained as a gentleman, paid for by an anonymous benefactor whom he presumes is Miss Havisham. Pip stays in London for many years and in due course learns that Magwitch, the convict, is his benefactor. This shatters his dreams of marrying Estella and as the story unfolds he learns that Magwitch is Estella's father. Pip is unable to marry Estella until he returns after eleven years in Cairo and meets her again; Pip is sure they will always be together. The novel Great Expectations bears a direct relation to Dickens' own life. Many of the events and characters featured are based upon experiences that Dickens had. Like Pip Dickens had many great expectations but these were to quickly diminish as events in his life took a turn for the worse. Pip's actions and emotions in the story reflect those of Dickens himself. ...read more.

Middle

Dickens wanted to show people that with money should come responsibility, without it money corrupts. The second key setting is London, this is where Pip experiences money and sees what money does to people. He is in an environment that revolves around money. There are those who have it and those who don't. He can see what happens when people have money but also what happens to people when they run out. Pip is more grown-up now and London is another stage in his physical and moral journey. When Pip first arrives in London he is quite overwhelmed as it is a totally new environment and atmosphere. He is 'scared by the immensity of London' yet he says it is 'rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty'. After arriving in London Pip goes to see Jaggers in his office. There isn't much lighting and Pip describes it as a 'most dismal place' because there is such a lack of light, this is a link to Satis House. There are also many links to death in Pip's description of Jaggers's office, he tells of a 'rusty pistol' and a 'sword in a scabbard' and he also says that Jaggers's chair looks 'like a coffin'. Pip begins to see that Jaggers is quite an unpleasant man. He is commanding and very threatening; he knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. Jaggers knows his own importance and uses that to his advantage; his goal is to make as much money as possible. ...read more.

Conclusion

He has no regard for people's feelings he just wants money. Pip sees that with money comes power and greed. From living an innocent and sheltered life in the marsh flats Pip has come a long way in his life. He had quite a strict upbringing and his family didn't have much money, he was uneducated and could only just read and write. Then he visited Satis House, a 'memorable day' for Pip because his priorities in life drastically changed through the influence of Estella and Miss Havisham. He started to disregard his family life and the moral values he had been brought up with and instead wanted to change himself into what he thought would be a better person. As Pip grows up he visits Satis House often and then moves to London to be trained as a gentleman. There he sees that money is power and he feels money is the most important thing in life. He starts to ignore his family and friends and instead desires wealth. Pip's visit to Wemmick's home in Walworth shows him that work and home life can be completely different. Attention should still be paid to family and friends, but Pip doesn't copy Wemmick and instead forgets all about his past. Pip has learnt that if you focus on getting money you become greedy and forget about values such as family and friends. Money isn't everything, if someone has money it doesn't necessarily mean they are respected and valued. Money can disappear very quickly and can ruin someone's life. In the novel Pip is disturbed by the 'taint of prison and crime', something Dickens himself had experienced and hated. ...read more.

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