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Discuss how the theme of class is developed through Pip's visit to Satis House

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Introduction

Discuss how the theme of class is developed through Pip's visit to Satis House Charles Dickens was born in 1812. When he was twelve years old his father was imprisoned for debt and Dickens was sent to work. He received little formal education, but he taught himself shorthand and became a reporter of parliamentary debates for the "Morning Chronicle." Throughout the Victorian Era, their resided a "social hierarchy" in the British society. At the top rested the aristocratic populace and at the bottom the lay the less fortunate; the poor lower classed background, that occupied the majority of the population at the time. The bildungsroman, "Great Expectations" portrays the great escalation in the social hierarchy of a young lad named Pip as he progresses in his life, Starting as an orphan and apprentice blacksmith, his horizons are widened through contact with the upper classes. He strives to better himself and make that most difficult of journeys across the boundaries of class. The real reason that Dickens may have written this novel was not to portray the transformation and luck of one little boy, but to however show how the atrocious state that resided in the Victorian Era, with the high level of infant mortality and the appalling working and living conditions, Victorian England was not a very pleasant place to live. In this essay I will examine how the theme of class is developed through Pip's visit to Satis House. A viscous cycle of deprivation co-existed in the social order of Victorian England during the time of this novel. Sadly enough the protagonist Pip, is trapped in this cycle and has to endure a coarse lower classed life crediting his guardian Mr Joe Gargery the blacksmith. The ghastly education that was presented to the poor children of Victorian England is illustrated in "Great Expectations" with the help of the character Pip and his "school for the poor". ...read more.

Middle

With the money to buy anything and everything one desires satisfaction is one aspect that should be a certainty, however with the aged Ms Havisham we see that money is not everything in life. . The passages describing Pip's first encounter with Miss Havisham are among the most memorable of all Dickens' portraits. She reminds Pip of a wax effigy or a skeleton, and the bridal dress she wears has faded to a sickly yellow. Vampire-like, she has never seen the sun. The clocks and watches in her room have stopped at twenty to nine. All of this we can read as a very damning comment on the upper class in general. Pips summoning to Satis House is due to an old woman's last wishes before she meets her swift demise. Ms Havisham wishes to see a young child "play" before she dies. Ms Havisham is a very commanding woman; she commands "go play" to Pip, Havisham is aware of her higher status and uses it to its full extent commanding the lower classed Pip because she knows that he may not say anything in defence or defy her. When Ms Havisham tells Pip to go and play cards with Estella he says he can play "nothing but beggar my neighbour." The different card games symbolise the different classes, and because Pip only knows how to play one game, it may mean that he is only level one a scale of 1 to 10 in society, whereas Estella knows many more games meaning she has a much higher rating, hence the higher status, obviously though the number of card games linking to the class is all metaphoric. The card game also shows his inferior class, as the only card game he knows how to play is called "beggar my neighbour". The name relates to Pips lower class as a beggar begs for money and food to survive, consequently resulting in a lower class individual. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that Dickens had sympathy for the both the higher and lower class people. He had sympathy for the poor because they had to struggle to survive and had to work very hard for such things as money and food to feed the mouths of their families. Conversely I think he felt sympathy for the higher class also, he showed this through Ms Havisham and Satis House. We can see that he has sympathy for the rich as Dickens makes Satis House like a prison and Ms Havisham like a sad old hag that exists inside the walls of the prison, he is also showing the reader that even though she is rich and has money she is sad and imprisoned within her home and her sorrows, I think this is how many higher class people and families lives feel, so this is why he feels sympathy towards them. The bildungsroman genre is a story in where a character grows up and has higher understanding of the world. Pip's visit to Satis House fits perfectly into the bildungsroman genre, this is due to the fact that after Pips visit to Satis House he grows up, not necessarily in age but he grows up inside; he becomes more mature and also gets a higher understanding of his class and place in society. The Visit to Satis House also reveals that in this world, materialism is a very common trait that presides in the hearts of all individuals, hearts which can forget their closest friends and even family for a chance at an elevated class in life. Finally Dickens is also leaving his final message that you don't need all the riches to become an ethical person leading a prosperous life. This is the thought that Dickens wishes is engraved in the minds of all who read the novel. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ali Keshtmand 10T ...read more.

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