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Discuss Dickens treatment of the Victorian concept of a gentleman in “Great Expectations”.

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Introduction

Discuss Dickens treatment of the Victorian concept of a gentleman in "Great Expectations". Great Expectations is a novel about a boy called Pip and is of him growing up. One day a lawyer turns up at his sister's house saying he has great expectations of him. A mysterious benefactor is giving money through the lawyer to Pip. Pip spends this money on what he thinks is becoming gentleman i.e. buying new furniture. However towards the end of the novel, when Pip finds out who his mysterious benefactor really is, he realises what a true gentleman is, a man of great principles and, a person with good manners. The novel is written by a much older Pip looking back at his life and being amazed at some of the mistakes he actually made. In Great Expectations, every character has there own opinion of what a real gentleman should be like. Pip, the main character of the novel; while he is still a teenager thinks that a real gentleman should have a lot of money, wear expensive clothes, know how to read and write and should go to a gentleman's club. ...read more.

Middle

Bently Drummel is only a gentleman because he comes from a rich family his ethics are all completely wrong. He does not lens any money to his friends and he treats them as if they are inferior to him due to his riches. We all know that a true gentleman would never mistreat his friends and would always take great care f them. However on could also argue against these accusations, which are against Bently Drummel and say that he is in fact quite a gentleman. But that all depends upon what one defines a gentleman as. If one says that a gentleman is someone who is very arrogant, and loves himself and his riches more than anyone else then you could say that Bently Drummel is a gentleman However I think in modern day society, and what dickens is trying to put across to the reader is that it is not ones position in society; it is not ones riches that make him a gentleman but his humility, his kindness and his love for his neighbours. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the time in which this novel was released in its different sections, Dickens wanted to add enough suspense so that the reader wanted to read the next section and would remember all the previous sections. He added thrill and excitement to the section by introducing a new character relatively in each section, who has there own appearance, is from there own part of society i.e. working class, and who has their own different views and opinions. This is clearly apparent as each character has his own view, for example Estella a beautiful girl, who Pip is deeply in love with tells him that a gentleman dresses smart, has nice shoes and soft hands. IT is clear to see the message that dickens is broadcasting to the people through his novel and is seem to have an effect because it tells all the people the rich and poor that money does not make a gentleman in the eyes of the community so it is better to be happy with what one has and to have good principles and scruples. ...read more.

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