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Evaluate the ways in which the author builds characters and a sense of place in Great Expectations(TM). Your response should also analyse and evaluate aspects of tension particularly within the first section of the novel.

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"Evaluate the ways in which the author builds characters and a sense of place in 'Great Expectations'. Your response should also analyse and evaluate aspects of tension particularly within the first section of the novel." There are many characters in 'Great Expectations' and they all have a vital role in the progression of Pips story. At the start of the novel, the reader is introduced to Pip; a young orphaned boy, alone in a graveyard. There is a sense of pathetic fallacy, as it is dark, cloudy and windy "the distant savage lair, from which the wind was rushing" a symbol that builds tension and makes us suspect something is about to happen. He is presented as a very innocent child as the way he pictures the images of his late parents is by the names on their tombstones. He depicts his father as a "square, stout, dark man with curly black hair" and his mother as "freckled and sickly". Pip even admits to this being a childish conclusion; however this is due to the fact that Pip is telling the story in an almost auto-biographical account, in his 'Gentleman' status, after having achieved his 'Great Expectations.' As Pip is narrating his story many years after the events of the novel take place, there are really two Pips in Great Expectations: One is the narrator, the middle class 'gentleman' and one is the character, the young, working class orphan. ...read more.


This shows a definite development in character for Pip, as the younger Pip looked to Mr. Joe as a friend and an equal, whereas the older Pip looks down on him, and treats him as an inferior member of society. Another character who suffers from a distinct lack of love is Pip himself. In the early chapters of the story he falls in love with Estella, however this love is unrequited, as Estella looks down on Pip as a mere peasant. As Pip climbs the social ladder, he becomes solely concentrated on winning Estella's heart, he casts aside all those he has ever cared for in an almost arrogant fashion. However, when he ultimately fails to win Estella, he realises his mistakes and that social standing is not directly proportional. There is also a distinct sense of irony about this, as Estella succeeds in her original task, set by Miss Havisham, of breaking Pip's heart, despite the fact it is completely unintentional. Pip desires to move away from his life under his sister Mrs Joe Gargery, who brought him up by hand; a consequence of the untimely death of their parents. In the beginning of the book, Pip lives with his sister and her husband Mr. Joe Gargery. His sister's stern methods of bringing Pip up by hand bring doubt to mind as whether or not she really does love Pip, and even whether she loves her husband. ...read more.


As a young woman, Miss Havisham was abandoned by her fianc� minutes before her wedding, and now she has a vendetta against all men., born out of anguish, this hatred for men has destroyed her life and the lives of all those around her, for example, Pip and Estella. Her anger has given her such a narrow minded view of all men, isolating her within Satis House. She, like Pip has become blinded by her objective and is unable to see the pain she causes Estella and Pip. She is redeemed at the end of the novel when she realizes that she has caused Pip's heart to be broken in the same manner as her own; rather than achieving any kind of personal revenge, she has only caused more pain. In Satis House, Dickens creates a magnificent Gothic setting whose various elements symbolize Pip's romantic perception of the upper class. On her decaying body, Miss Havisham's wedding dress becomes a symbol of death and deterioration. The wedding dress and the wedding feast symbolize Miss Havisham's past, and the stopped clocks all over the house symbolize her determined attempt to freeze time by refusing to change anything from the way it was when she was abandoned on her wedding day. I conclude this essay by saying that Dickens expertly builds up each of the main characters, through the use of tension, love and a sense of social and physical place. ?? ?? ?? ?? Joe Hill 11r3 1 of 4 ...read more.

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