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Examine the way women are portrayed in this story. Explain the differences in our perception of them now from the ways they would have been viewed at the time of writing.

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Introduction

Prose Study Assignment Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Examine the way women are portrayed in this story. Explain the differences in our perception of them now from the ways they would have been viewed at the time of writing. The women in the story and in the 19th century were perceived in a totally different way from the way they are perceived nowadays. There are several women in this 19th century book, Miss Havisham, Estella, Mrs. Joe Gargery and Biddy to name but a few. These are the four main females in the story with the most significance, there are also less important woman included within the story such as, Molly, Miss Skiffins and Clara. Most of these women are perceived and portrayed in slightly different ways, Miss Havisham, Estella, and Mrs. Joe Gargery are all cold, bitter and spiteful in some way or another. Their attitude toward people of a lower class, Miss Havisham's especially, would be taken very differently today from how it was taken in the 19th century. In the 19th century her attitude was accepted and takes as normal due to her wealth. There was some contrast between the main female's characters, as biddy was a warm hearted, kind and loving woman. In the time of Charles Dickens the expected behaviour and actions of the women were much different to the independent "new woman" we have in the 21st century today. ...read more.

Middle

I do feel sorry for Miss Havisham as she still seems to be living in hope of her dream wedding, which has turned into a nightmare and ripped her life apart. She appears to want to take some revenge on men and to do this she used Estella, with who she teachers to project her spiteful ways. I think that deep inside Miss Havisham she has a good heart and at times it appears to be unlocked for a certain amount of time. An example of this, is when Pip is singing to Miss Havisham and Estella. Miss Havisham seems to relax and she joins in with Pip rather than mocking him like it seemed was first planned. I think the people of the 19th century saw Miss Havisham as a typical strange yet wealthy and upper class lady. She obviously did not leave the house at all, so I do not think she would have had much in the way of friends or associates and she would have been most likely socially inactive. Mrs. Joe Gargery, was another of the main characters in this story. She is portrayed as evil, butch and a poor excuse for a lady. She was known to be evil to her husband, Mr. Joe Gargery too. She actually went as far as to hit him and physically attack him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Joe Gargery. In my personal view Biddie was my favourite woman selected from the story, she seemed constantly happy and not to have any major negative characteristics. I feel Charles Dickens purposely portrayed Biddie to be as nice as she was to show that not all the women showed malevolence bitterness and nastiness as some of the women did in the story. Biddie brought the book the little extra bit of contrast it needed between the different types of women in the tale. Our perceptions of women now compared to the ways in which women are perceived in the story are totally different. Women now have their own independence, their own jobs and are not just insignificant housewives anymore. The way the people were classed by their wealth and riches has also changed. In those days money did speak, nobody questioned Miss Havisham like the law could nowadays. Her social status and wealth ruled above everyone and everything else. Due to her riches she could be as rude as she felt was right without any questions from social services or similar groups, like would happen today. Her actions were permitted because of her wealth, in today's world she would not have been able to raise Estella in the way which she did. Miss Havisham and other characters from the book could not have gained the respect and independence through wealth, today, as they did in the 19th century. Chris Scrimgour - Page 1 - Prose Study Assignment ...read more.

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