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

Consider Pip from Great Expectations and Ralph from Lord of the Flies - Which character do you think gives the most realistic portrayal of childhood?

Extracts from this document...


Consider Pip from Great Expectations and Ralph from Lord of the Flies. Which character do you think gives the most realistic portrayal of childhood? Both of these novels contain depictions of childhood. An important fact to keep aware of is that in Dickens' portrayal of childhood, there are adults present to mould Pip through his encounters with them, whereas Golding leaves his characters free from any guiding adult hand. Pip's sister being on "the rampage" when she felt Joe or Pip had done the slightest thing wrong, is different to Ralph's experience of childhood on the island as the closest thing he has to an adult guide is Piggy, who whilst undoubtedly more intelligent than the other boys, lacks the respect and authority an adult commands. Pip and Ralph are alike however in their longing for a lack of adults, "but then the delight of a realized ambition overcame him. In the middle of the scar he stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy. 'No grown ups!' " Is what Golding tells us of Ralph, and similarly Dickens's Pip calls them all "toadies and humbugs". Although these views both seem to concur that a lack of adults is definitely a good thing, they do differ somewhat, I do not believe Ralph would go so far as to call all adults "toadies and humbugs" and this is certainly to do with their different backgrounds. ...read more.


Golding uses the views of others to reveal aspects of the main characters, and so influence how we feel about them, Piggy's view of Ralph and the others "Like a crowd of kids -" is supposed to make the reader feel that Piggy is far more mature, and that in turn Ralph is excessively immature, and childlike. Dicken's however uses Pip's perspective throughout the novel, and the language he uses differs greatly at the start as compared to the finish for the purposes of showing the transition between child and adult. For example "I religiously entertained that they had been born on their backs with their hands in their trouser pockets" is clearly not the impression an adult would get from having dead brothers or sisters, and most likely not the way they would describe them. However at the end of the book the language use has progressed to statements such as "Oh, Joe, you break my heart! Look angry at me, Joe! Strike me, Joe! Tell me of my ingratitude. Don't be so good to me." This is a statement the younger Pip would have been incapable of making, ti shows the complex differences in language that Dickens appreciates children use as compared to adults. In Great Expectations Pip is not treated as an adult, he is treated as a particularly worthless child, and as such he forms negative opinions of the adult world he will have to grow into, "that ass Pumblechook" being just ...read more.


To conclude I believe that Pip is by far the better portrayal of childhood. Childhood does not generally involve the lack of adult presence to so huge an extent as it does in Lord of the Flies, however the battles of child against adult and adult society such as are seen in Great Expectations do occur almost universally. I think that some qualities the reader sees in Ralph, such as the headstands, do display the kind of innocent glee a child might express, but other than that Ralph and is peers are all examples of the human race and so representative of those who rule the world, adults, and not of children who merely inhabit it. Golding's book is a political message of it's time, whereas Dickens was writing a novel, but his was free from the idealism that contaminates Golding's work. Dickens' novel still had a point, but this point was made about the way in which his society worked and in particular his belief that money is a great corrupter. Therefore I believe that Dickens' Pip is the most realistic portrayal of childhood as he behaves like a child, his expressions and attitudes are all those common to children. Dickens' also displays a deep understanding of how children work, and this comes across in Pip's actions. Golding's children however are only just recognisable as children, they could easily be replaced with full grown adults and still the story would work just as well. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE William Golding 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 GCSE William Golding essays

  1. To what extent is Lord of the flies a pessimistic book?

    The captain doesn't realise what went on, on the island and views it as a game. I think that a dark humour is created as Ralph, 'looked at him dumbly.' I think this conjures up a great image as Ralph looks at the captain after all that has happened and the captain thinks it is all fun and games.

  2. Analysis of Lord of the Flies.

    Simon volunteers to return to the beach to tell Piggy and the littluns that they will not return until late that night. Ralph, Roger, and Jack start to climb the mountain; then Ralph and Roger wait at the halfway point while Jack climbs alone to the top.

  1. Compare and Contrast the Opening Chapters of 'Lord of the Flies', by William Golding, ...

    he is too young to earn his keep and look after himself in the outside world, the boys in `Lord of the Flies` do not have the necessary skills to escape the island because they are children, they cannot build a boat or contact people off the island because they lack experience.

  2. What role does Ralph play in the novel 'Lord Of The Flies'?

    He behaves in a way we expect from a short fat bespectacled boy. Golding describes his characters so simple, we can imagine him so easily. Golding takes time to go in to more vivid descriptions of the events and the island itself, rather than giving details about the characters.

  1. To what extent do you consider the Lord of the Flies to be a ...

    In spite of that, it was Piggy who had been bitterly let down by the adult world, in which he had so much faith. Nonetheless, for Jack, uniform resembled leadership, a thing that he kept close to his heart. Jack and the other bigguns were introduced as some kind of creature, walking in formation behind their leader: Jack.

  2. Creative Writing

    However, Jack's peaceful mind could not have lasted forever. Once again, thoughts of Abby sunk into his head, reminding him of her death. Why is this so painful? He thought. Flashbacks of those unforgettable moments shot to his mind; laying serenely on the grass side by side, the disagreement...

  1. Both Golding and Dickens have concerns for the moral welfare of their societies. What ...

    People like these usually begin dedicated and form good order under good leadership, but often impose their views on others by means of force and become violent and murderous. This is probably what Golding thought of society at the time as this is brought out in Jack and his tribe vividly.

  2. Compare how the authors present and use the concept of the island setting in ...

    Soon he began to think about his future. Crusoe soon discovered he "Had no weapon either to hunt and kill any creature for my sustenance, or to defend myself against any other creature that might desire to kill me for theirs". Consequently, he spent his first night on the island up a tall, thorny tree, so not to get attacked during the night.

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