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

Great Expectations

Extracts from this document...


What Picture Of Childhood Does Charles Dickens Create In The First Section of Great Expectations? In 1861, when Dickens embarked upon telling the novel Great Expectations, the country was riveted. They'd hasten to read the next weekly instalment which was full of drama and, more importantly, the issues which Dickens urged to convey throughout the novel. Strong feelings were rooted to his childhood where he was forced to work in a blacking factory and even give up his education at one point. When he did receive an education it was poorly taught, like Pip's own experience. In comparison, our society today and its compulsory education is a striking contrast to Victorian children's life. Treatment during childhood is also an important theme and most interestingly how Pip is treated by his sister Mrs Joe and her husband Joe Gargery. Whereas Joe supports and encourages Pip, "Astonishing! You ARE a scholar," he remarks when Pip writes something on the chalkboard to him, Mrs Joe treats Pip extremely differently. Despite being only a sister to Pip, Mrs Joe acts as his mother as she has raised him "by hand". Literally this describes how she raised him alone, but also symbolises how Pip seemed to be raised by Mrs Joe's violence. ...read more.


It could be that his fear is from being treated badly by those of higher status; however, Herbert treats him as an equal by playing and even returning Pip's good will by saying "same to you". This shows how he treats Pip more fairly unlike Estella. This gives us an insight that class is not an issue to all children. Another person similar to Pip's age is Biddy. She comes to look after Joe, Mrs Joe and Pip and at once Pip recognises her intelligence. However, we can see a slight snobbery in the way Pip looks at her. He does not understand how she can "learn quicker" than Pip. From this we can see he acknowledges Biddy's intelligence, but is also confused why he is not superior in that aspect which is rather snobbish. Although Pip and Biddy do not see each other in the same way (Pip "did not know back then" that Biddy loved Pip), Pip trusts Biddy immensely and tells her that he wants "to be a gentleman" on Estella's account. He has told no one else this, but still looks down on Biddy and thinks she is "envious and grudging" of his new wealth. ...read more.


Riveted by the personal effect it has on us, as if he's telling his story specifically to you, the reader, we maintain our interest in his thoughts and feelings throughout the novel. The novel is very rich emotionally, its long sentences building them up whilst the short ones tend to dissipate them. However, technical devices are not the only ways to entertain; humour plays a large part in engaging the reader by continuing their interest and creating contrasts to the intense atmosphere that is described. Although, most importantly and perhaps most simply is the power of the narrative hook. This cliff-hanger, or cleverly planned tease, leaves the reader craving for the next instalment of Pip's life, his views and the wonderful places he travels in his progression through childhood. In conclusion, the presentation of Pip's fictional life through his own hindsight in its telling still attracts the appeal of many different readers. Since everyone has experience childhood, its subject has a profound relationship to many different readers and so they can engage and relate with Pip with ease, interest and sympathy. The views and opinions presented by people of different ages and classes still have relevance today and they will remain vital to Great Expectations even if they only serve as a historical study for many readers to come. ...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. Discuss the treatment of the theme of childhood in 'Great Expectations'

    'What a scholar you are.' This is shown through the fact that Pip enjoys writing and school and wants to further his knowledge. Pips improvement of social class is shown through the fact that he wants to marry into a higher class.

  2. Consider the role and presentation of women in Great Expectations and their influence on ...

    By this she tries to make Pip and Joe guilty: "It's bad enough to be a blacksmith's wife (and him a Gargery), without being your mother." These incessant tactics to make Pip feel guilty and unwanted would be hard for a young child to deal with and be depressing.

  1. Prose study: Great expectations

    to have been cut by flints, stung by nettles etc all things from his surroundings and he wasn't a proper gentlemen he was very dirty and wearing rags. Miss havisham in chapter 8 also turns into her surroundings she starts to rot and turn yellow just like everything around her

  2. Pip wants to grow up to be a gentleman. Do you think he succeeds?

    Once again Pip has showing gentlemanly elements. He is truly sorry for the past and how he treated Joe and Biddy and wants them to know that he loves them and will in future be nicer to them. Time though is not what Pip has, when he gets back to

  1. Examine how Dickens deals with the issue of social class in Great Expectations.

    George Orwell, in 1946, viewed Dickens's "rebelliousness" from a different perspective: "In Oliver Twist, Hard Times, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Dickens attacked English institutions with a ferocity that has never been seen. Yet he managed to do it without making himself hated, and, more than this, the very people he

  2. Great Expectations - Theme of class

    When he goes home, he tells his sister that there were 'immense dogs' eating from a silver basket. We see that Pip was actually the 'dog' eating off the floor. Pip has lied to his only remaining family and he is actually talking about what happened to him, throughout his visit.

  1. An exploration of the ways in which issues of class and status are presented ...

    never recognised by Leo as such, is treated cruelly by his relations and dies in The Great War along with Marcus, Marion still marries Triningham despite her affair and lives a long, albeit lonely, life, Triningham dies young without a child of his own to inherit his title, he brings

  2. What influences shape young Pip'sCharacter in " Great Expectations"

    because it made him feel inadequate and in turn made him strive to be better than just a labouring boy. This relationship with Joe may have also influenced his decision when he was asked to go to London and go with Mr Jaggers.

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