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Dickens Draws From Personal Experiences When Writing His Novels. What Examples are Evident in 'Great Expectations'

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Introduction

Dickens Draws From Personal Experiences When Writing His Novels. What Examples are Evident in 'Great Expectations' When writing his novels, Dickens often draws on personal experiences. 'Great Expectations', one of his later novels, is a prime example of this observation. For example, Dickens was a lonely child and like in many of his other male protagonists, Pip is an orphan. Charles Dickens' early life is comparable to Pip's, but it is to some extent contradictive. Born on the 7th of February 1812, in Portsmouth, his family moved to Chatham, in Kent when he was five and relocated to Camden Town in London when he was ten. These years seemed to be an idyllic time until his father was incarcerated at Marshalsea debtor's prison. By the time he was twelve, Dickens was working ten hour days in a boot blacking factory, earning six shillings a week pasting labels on the jars of thick polish. By contrast, Pip's early existence, was in poverty until he was introduced to prosperity as an early teenager. ...read more.

Middle

on in the novel when he is besotted with her to the point that he wants to become a gentleman to please her. Charles Dickens spent a large amount of his life abroad, living in The United States among other countries. Similar to Dickens, in 'Great Expectations', Pip spends most of his later years living and working abroad; 'I had quitted England, and within two months I was a clerk to Clarriker and Co.'3 Another similarity between Dickens' own life and his character Pip's is that one of Dickens' first jobs was as a law clerk. When Pip is living on money that is simply given to him he seems unfulfilled and as if he is wasting his life away. Dickens had to work very hard to obtain his successful career and has an apparent resentment for people who come across riches without working for it. When Pip gets an honest job as a law clerk he is portrayed as being hard working and a respected worker. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jaggers; this could be because of Dickens' job as a Law Clerk, Dickens can identify with Wemmick better. As well as the law profession, Dickens' own snobbishness appears through Pip throughout Great Expectations; 'It was all coarse and common' Pip speaks of the Forge, 'and I would not have Miss Havisham and Estella see it on any account.'6 Pip is portrayed unsympathetically at these points in the novel which can be read as highlighting that Dickens may have a certain resentment towards his personal snobbishness. To conclude, while it is arguable that Charles Dickens' writing style of drawing from personal experiences is self-indulgent and the attitudes that he adds in to his novels are often very biased, the way he does this is unique and provides an interesting insight into his life and thoughts as an extraordinary storyteller. Dickens was very ahead of his time in these aspects and also as a social commentator. Rory Bruton Quote 1: Chpt 9, pg 67. Quote 2: Chpt 59, pg 459. Quote 3: Chpt 58, pg 456. Quote 4: Chpt 20, pg 155. Quote 5: Chpt 45, pg 346. Quote 6: Chpt 14, pg 100. ...read more.

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