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

Discuss the treatment of the theme of childhood in 'Great Expectations'

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the treatment of the theme of childhood in 'Great Expectations' In this novel Dickens shows the treatment of childhood in many ways and through many characters. In the opening few chapters of the novel Dickens shows his opinions of childhood through Philip Pirrip otherwise known as Pip. Pip is first seen in a graveyard on his own reading the tombstones of his other family members who he never knew. The fact that the coming to life of Pip is through death shows that Dickens believes that childhood is an awful time of your life. We are told that Pip's first memories are of him on his own finding out that his family are all dead and buried in a church yard over run with nettles. This isn't a very nice memory and shows that Dickens feels there's not much fun to have when you're a child and that it's a very lonely time in your life. ...read more.


Also two other characteristics that occur a lot in the novel shows Dickens views of childhood are naivety and innocence. The innocence in Pip is shown because he is always polite towards the convict even when he's hurting him 'goo-good-night, sir,' This shows that children are brought up to be well mannered towards their elders and are too innocent to know that the man was a convict. Pip shows his naivety when he believes if he doesn't do as the convict says he will be attacked by another man, the young man, 'I was in mortal terror of the young man who wanted my heart and liver' this shows how naive children are because Pip believed in a made up man and didn't think once about questioning the convict about this man. The final way Dickens shows the horror of childhood through Pip is by the way Pip acts. Pip is always trying to make any possible improvement to himself by advancement in education and social class. ...read more.


Estella also shows us the cruelty of childhood in the way she treats Pip. She shows us by leading Pip on and breaking his heart several times while he's growing up. Another way Estella shows us the cruelty of childhood is the fact we are told that she is an orphan as well like Pip and she also lost her parents at a young age the fact that this has happened to both the children characters in the novel so far leads us to believe that it happened very often back when the novel was wrote and that most children were unhappy because they have lost their parents. We are given the impression at the very end of the novel that Estella's father is the convict and that they had been separated from each other their whole lives and will never meet because he dies before he gets a chance to see her. In this novel childhood comes across as being the worst time in your life and that it was terrible to be a child. ...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 Great Expectations 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 Great Expectations essays

  1. How does Dickens present childhood in Great Expectations?

    During the dinner party is the best illustration of this as caricature is used multiple times. A good quotation of this given caricature would be of Uncle Pumblechook, "Mr Wopsle, united to a Roman nose and a large shining bald forehead..."

  2. Free essay

    Great Expectations. Discuss how the theme of class is developed through Pips visit to ...

    Furthermore, it shows that Joe's blacksmith's trade is not good enough for him. This is when Pip begins to realise that his dream is to become a gentleman so that he and Estella can be together. Before he went to Satis House, he was comfortable with his class whereas now he is confused about the way he acts.

  1. Great Expectations - Theme of class

    Even Pip agrees, at this point, that providing for the family is more vital then education, when he coheres to Joe's philosophy that 'somebody must keep the pot boiling.' Pip will have to be the sole breadwinner for his family and must provide for them.

  2. Great Expectations. Discuss how the theme of class is explored through the first part ...

    Dickens wrote many of his novels about the poor and going to prison also surviving which depicted his life for example" Oliver!" Whose story was similar to Pip's as he was also an orphan and went down the avenue

  1. Discuss the way that Pips treatment by adults during his childhood affects his adult ...

    This however, was not uncommon in these times because the Victorians attitude towards children was that they were to be seen and not heard. For example, in wealthy families children would rarely see their parents as they were either sent to a boarding school at a very young age or

  2. Pip and Guilt in Great Expectations: Innocence, Association, And Obsession

    When Pip lent Magwitch the file to help him escape, he felt only the guilt of taking from Joe. But when Mrs. Joe is mortally wounded with the same leg iron that Pip frees Magwich with, Pip will never forgive himself for the thought that he might have helped aide in Mrs.

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