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Explore how chapter 49 of Great Expectations fits into the overall scheme of the text. How important is it to understanding the author's themes of: gentlemen and the role of women in Victorian society?

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Introduction

Explore how chapter 49 of Great Expectations fits into the overall scheme of the text. How important is it to understanding the author's themes of: gentlemen and the role of women in Victorian society? In this essay I will explore how chapter forty-nine fits into the overall scheme of Dickens's 'Great Expectations'. In addition I will also describe how this chapter helps readers to understand two important themes of this novel: what it means to be a 'Victorian gentleman' and Dickens's comments on the role of women in Victorian society. 'Great Expectations' is a novel about what it is to be a true gentleman; it also explores the life of a young boy and his quest to become a gentleman. This can be illustrated by when pip explains to biddy his tutor " I want to be a gentleman... I am disgusted with my calling and with my life" this shows that pip is not happy with his life and wants to change it. He doesn't want to grow up to be a customary worker like Joe, his sister's husband; he wants to be a gentleman. Chapter forty-nine is a crucial point in the development of the plot. At this point, Pip visits miss Havesham who feels guilty for having caused Estella to break his heart. She also realizes what she has done and what she has bought Estella up to be like ". ...read more.

Middle

After this offer Joe is outraged hence his comment "money - can make compensation to me- fur the loss of the little child - what come to the forge - and every the best of friends!" Here the loss of the worker means nothing to Joe and nor does the compensation, it's the loss of the child that he brought up to be his son that is the loss to him. This proves that money is not everything to Joe; this is showing gentleman properties to Pip that will follow his examples. By the time of chapter forty nine pip had become a gentleman and is equal in the eyes of what a true gentleman should be, resembling Joe. When asked by Miss Havisham if he thinks he could ever forgive her, he replies '"O, Miss Havesham," said I, "I can do it now"'. Pip also comments 'I had said and done what I could to ease her mind'. By doing this he is showing true gentleman qualities, as this person he was forgiving made him feel inadequate and small at the start of the story. Dickens is starting to finally show pip in his true colours at this point in the novel- a true gentleman. In contrast to Dickens's views on what it is to be a true gentleman his views on the role of a woman in Victorian society are depicted throughout chapter forty-nine. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is shown in chapter forty-nine exceptionally by Miss Havesham when she cries out repetitively 'what have I done! What have I done!' This sentence shows the view that Miss Havesham is mentally unbalanced and has realised what she has become and what she done with her life. After this she cries out again " write under my name, "I forgive her!" Here she is begging for forgiveness for what she has done and wants to make her peace with pip so she has feeling of forgiveness in her. The last piece of writing style in chapter forty-nine was cleverly written to make the reader want to read on and think something is going to happen towards the end of the chapter (Miss Havesham's death). When Pip walks to Satis house he remembers things from his childhood they may indicate something bad is about to happen for instance he mentions the bells sounding like funeral music. To explain, all these hints remind the reader that something is about to happen another "a new desolate in the desolate house had told me so". Here again imagery has been used to make the reader believe that something is going to happen and make them read on. To conclude, I have explored how Dickens depicts the themes of a Victorian gentlemen and the role of women in contempery Victorian society in detail. Also I have explains some of Dickens styles of writing and how he uses them to keep the reader engaged and questioning the moral question he states; what defines a true gentleman. ...read more.

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