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Great Expectations’

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As Module 3 - The study of Prose Written before 1900 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens Coursework Essay 2: " Pip and the nature of his 'great expectations' illustrates another theme in the Victorian novel - the definition of a true gentleman. It was a question that Victorians debated endlessly - the gentleman's definition, his nature, his function - as old ideas about traditional hierarchy were challenged or exploited." (Barbara Dennis OCR, page 19) "...No man who was not a true gentleman at heart, ever was, since the world began, a true gentleman in manner...no varnish can hide the grain of the wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself."(Chapter 22, Great expectations) Both of these above statements are questioning the definition of a gentleman. Gentleman defines it self in the Oxford dictionary as "polite well-bred man; a man of high social position and a polite name for a man." Dickens wrote this novel in the Victorian Era, at this time there was a separation in the society, the poor, the rich - the peasants, the gentlemen. ...read more.


Like Pip, Dickens grew up without a father figure in his life. Magwitch represents fatherhood to Pip, a criminal just like Dickens father, met pip on the marshes. Magwitch, the narrative suggests, is not so easily dealt with. Dickens suggests in addition that possession by devils is a cynically convenient way of labelling and dismissing those whom society decides to reject. Dickens point is that Magwitch is no more legion than Pip or his readers are. He is outcast, alien and marginal for reasons which spelled out for us in chapter 42 when Magwitch narrates his autobiography, and which are all too close to those discoverable from the life stories of the underprivileged of our own day for us to feel complacent about them. Magwitch as scapegoat is not just a psychological reality for Pip, though. By making him a convict Dickens suggests that mid nineteenth century English society needs its criminals as scapegoats, too; so that Magwitch as outcast convict, on society's margins, is a passionate reformists accusation aimed at a loathsome complacent a social structure and hierarchy. Magwitch's name, compounded of Latin 'magus' (magician) ...read more.


Not deterred by her haughty tone, he worships the ground she walks on and thinks that they are both destined to fall in love with each other. Estella's cruelty to Pip appears he is her victim because she has made him to begin to think and act as an insensitive snob. This is obvious when Joe visits him in London. The most recurrent image of Joe is the picture Dickens creates in the opening section of 'Great expectations'. Symbolically he places Joe at the heart of the home, in the kitchen corner by the glowing hearth, where Pip as a small child, shielded by the blacksmiths huge physical frame is cheered and warmed by Joes love. As Pip develops as a character and 'gentleman' I come across some other characters that have an impact on Pip's life. We, the readers are introduced to Jaggers in chapter 18. It was the fourth year of Pip's apprenticeship. One Saturday night a stranger enters the bar. It's Jaggers, a London lawyer with a bullying manner, and he makes Wopsle look foolish. On Pips arrival to London we find out more about Jaggers, and his qualification, his 'gloomy office' near the prison. Jaggers seemed to be a very powerful character. The only reason he is classified as a gentleman is because of his seeded, powerful job. ...read more.

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