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Consider the role and presentation of women in Great Expectations and their influence on Pip.

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Introduction

Consider the role and presentation of women in Great Expectations and their influence on Pip. The novel Great Expectations is a first-person narrative, ostensibly by Philip Pirrip who as a child was renamed Pip. The novel is also a bildungsroman, which means that the main theme of the novel is the education and experiences of one person, in this case Pip. Throughout the novel Pip comes into contact with four main women, all of whom have a significant influence on Pip, his life, and emotional feelings. Each of these women is portrayed in different ways throughout the novel as aggressive and unloving, fantastic and eccentric, cold and beautiful, and patient and warm-hearted. It is these women and their influences on Pip that cause his emotional development and thus his problems. In the novel we are first introduced to Mrs. Joe, Pip's sister and effectively his surrogate mother, as Pip is an orphan from a young age. She is presented as antagonistic and violent towards her husband and Pip. She is "...hard and heavy handed, and to be much in the habit of laying it upon her husband as well as upon me." She often beats Pip with a cane she has playfully nicknamed tickler, described by Pip as "a wax ended piece of cane, worn smooth by collision with my body". ...read more.

Middle

Despite Mrs. Joe's cruelty and violence towards Pip and Joe, after she has been struck by Orlick with a convict's iron and is on the verge of death her last three words are "Joe pardon Pip." So she asks forgiveness and shows sorrow towards Pip at the end. So in her last few moment of the novel she is final presented as human. Mrs. Joe is the first of the four major women in Pip's life. As a result of this her influence on Pip is the strongest as when children are young they are fickle and their opinions and beliefs can be moulded easily by those closest to them. Miss Havisham is another of the main women in Pip's life. She presides in isolation over her macabre home, Satis House. She is surrounded by images of decay and death, which suggest the kind of influence she has on Pip and Estella. In Pip she instils expectations, which are cruelly false, and comes close to ruining his life before realising the enormity of her actions. She no longer lives in a world that resembles reality as shown by the stopped clocks, decomposed wedding feast and her mouldering wedding dress. She has turned into this strange and cold character because her heart was broken. ...read more.

Conclusion

The strange and bizarre nature of Miss Havisham's behaviour is understood when Herbert Pocket reveals her life story. She was tricked out of a small fortune by her fianc� Compeyson who then jilted her on their marriage day. This explains her desire to hurt and break hearts of all men through Estella. This also explains why Miss Havisham is so vengeful maybe verging on insane. Her role in the novel is to instil the belief into Pip that he and Estella are meant to be and her encouragement to Pip of being his benefactor. Miss Havisham towards the end of her life realises the enormity of her actions as she has ruined Pip and Estella's lives. She, like Mrs Joe, shows remorse and begs Pip for his forgiveness "My name is on the first leaf. If you can ever write under my name, 'I forgive her,' though ever so long after my broken heart has turned to dust-Pray do it!" So Miss Havisham does show genuine repentance to Pip. Thus also at the end like Mrs. Joe is presented as sadly human. Miss Havisham and Mrs. Joe shape and mould Pip into the person we are familiar with in the novel. Their influences are vital for Pip's character and the plot throughout the story. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ed Bird, English C/W, IAB ...read more.

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