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Great Expectations

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Introduction

Great Expectations Great expectations might be read as a bildungsroman because it charts the progress of the main character, Pip, from childhood to adulthood. Traditionally, a bildungsroman contains a hero, who usually suffers early on in life, maturing and clashing with the social settings and eventually being accepted into it. The story focuses around this theme but doesn't always play by its rules. In my essay I will be discussing to what point Great expectations can be read as a bildungsroman. "Great expectations" conforms to the genre of a bildungsroman right from the start of the book, in the opening scene we meet old pip talking about charting his life from when he was a little boy to a young gentleman. Like in most bildungsroman books Pip has suffered a loss at an early age, his parents, brothers and sisters. Pip has also had a harsh start to life because he lives with his sister who, even thought she is looking out for him, treats him quite badly. To even more extent the social hierarchy is established very early on as we find out that Mr. Joe is a blacksmith and this is important in order to judge Pip's development, we can even tell from the language that he uses that he has a hard knock life and is not well off. ...read more.

Middle

Pip is invited to play at Miss Haversham's house, this is important as it shows a crucial part of the bildungsroman genre, the "shunning out" of the society that he wants to be accepted by, when Pip is playing at Satis house he is mixing with the higher class which represents a small leap to achieving his goals, while also giving him something else to aim at, Estella. Pip is treated badly by Estella because of his class making him feel poor and "common", insulting the language he uses "he calls the knaves, jacks!" showing the difference in class which makes him upset and cry but the fact that she gets to him means that he likes her, urging him to change class "the hands that have never bothered me before, look coarse and common now". Joe responds to Pip with helpful advice, saying that if he wants to be "uncommon" he must do it the honest way because if he can't he'll never do it and we expect Pip to go and strike his goals. Satis house represents a slow change in Pip's status. He's mixing with higher class people and becoming more familiar with Miss Haversham and Estella's frequent mood change, that he is becoming to feel more comfortable there than he would be at home and the talks about him being paid for his services. ...read more.

Conclusion

Pip even begins to say that he wishes he was able to remove Joe to 'a higher sphere', in this qoute he calls Joe common, he critises him for not having chances and is now distancing himself from his family as he cant be seen with his normal, common, poor family so he can't mix with Joe anymore. Pip is now acting in a vain and superior way to everyone. In the end of the chapter Pip says his goodbyes and leaves for London the only things he has left to do is to stabilise himself and to achieve his one and only great expectation to win over the love of Estella. Over the course of volume 1 Pip has changed from a young innocent boy to a completly arrogant 'higher' class person. 'Great expectations' fufills the biuldingroman genre as Pip finally becomes part of the social order but now he speaks like he was always high class. The aspects that have been the most useful in charting Pip's change are social conditions and desire. Great expectations is not a normal Bildungsroman because Pip narratates his own story and he streches beyond growing up, the novel meeets the typical bildungroman structure and develops it turning it into a mistrey, love story and a novel which comments on Victorian social order. ...read more.

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