• 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. What influences shape the character ...

    Slowly, after coming into contact with Estella, Pip becomes shallow, as he is only interested in a girl's looks. The incident, at which the changes Pip become most apparent, is when Joe visits Miss Havisham and is referred to as an embarrassment by Pip.

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

    on her actions but this is the manner in which she behaves. Another example of Mrs. Joe's ruthless conduct in the novel is when Pip attempts to hold some bread back for Magwitch and is accused of "bolting his food" which surely cannot be considered a serious offence. However Mrs.

  2. Prose study: Great expectations

    Pip wasn't sure what to think of the woman that could never smile, he was quite scared. This chapter links in very closely to the way in which Magwitch was described in chapter one this is because they are both turning in to there surrounding Magwitch as he was described

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

    and what her family expects and wants of her, but at the same time weeps openly to Leo at not being able to follow her heart. This tragedy she imparts to Leo, and may well affirm in him social subservience; the dangers of social ambition.

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

    "What is a gentleman, what is true gentility?" are the questions Dickens poses to his readers in Great Expectations. He shows Pip from an innocent, unsophisticated orphan to a fake- member of the aristocracy and a sense of snobbery tainted by life in the prison house.

  1. Great Expectations - Theme of class

    When he talks to Joe, we can tell that Pip has never lied before, because Joe is surprised when Pip admits that he betrayed Joe's trust. "Awful...what possessed you?" In Joe's tradition, it's appalling to lie and that shows that the less well off did have some values.

  2. What picture does Dickens’ give us of “a Gentleman” in “Great Expectations” and how ...

    great deal to eat," and Pip also says that, "He haunted my existence" Pip tries to give the impression of being a gentleman to Joe by wearing "a flowered pattern . . . dressing gown" which is entirely unnecessary. He treats Joe with disdain and when he is eating he

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