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Great Expectations

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Great Expectations coursework Great Expectations is a book about the social classes and relationships between characters throughout Victorian England. It shows the decisions and 'destiny' of the main character Pip and how the choices and people around him affect his attitude towards his friends, family and society. The book shows the gap between the rich and the poor working class, Pip has to make a decision on which path to follow. In Great Expectations the appearance of the characters represents their personalities, Dickens has created the awkward, strict, unintelligent characters through vivid descriptions about their clothing and in ways which the characters speak, and the speech patterns they use. For example in Chapter four we get a description of Mr Pumblechook "A large hard-breathing, middle-aged, slow man, with a mouth like a fish, dull staring eyes, and sandy hair standing upright on his head, so it looked as if he had just been all but choked". We now already have an image of Mr Pumblechook and with the following speeches we can imagine what Mr Pumblechook really is like. The characters seem to respect Mr Pumblechook and enjoy his presence this shows that his personality will reflect on this, he knows that people respect him and so he uses this to his advantage and likes to hear what he wants to hear - people will agree to what he has to say. ...read more.


When Pip starts to talk about his sister which he must call Mrs Joe Gargery, he talks about how his sister brought him up 'by hand' but he doesn't understand what this expression means so he interprets it in his own way. Pip believes that to be brought up by hand means to hit someone so he also believes that his sister brought Joe up 'by hand', this is a way in which Dickens created the sense that Pip is a very innocent character. An example of speech patterns can be found with Pumblechook when he talks about pork on page 22, Mr Pumblechook has just took a small interval of reflection from talking about how a good subject is needed during a conversation afterwards he adds "Look at pork alone. There's a subject! If you want a subject look at pork!" Afterwards Mr Wopsle adds "True sir. Many a moral for the young". This shows that although Mr Pumblechook talks about nonsense they listen to him with respect and will agree with his comments. Another way in which Dickens tries to portray Mr Pumblechook as a character who thinks of himself as a higher intelligent individual is on page 44. Here Mr Pumblechook fires equations at Pip this is to try make Mr Pumblechook seem a character who feels he has authority over the child. ...read more.


Pip also describes the 'ugly thing with chains hanging to it'. This shows that Pip is describing the gibbet through his eyes, he calls it ugly and not a gibbet, it also shows that Pip only recognises the images of death, this relates to his life. A small boy should not be thinking about death, he should recognise the trees, sunlight etc. Overall I believe that Dickens creates very effective characters, metaphors and imagery to describe the characters personalities. The fact that it is shown through a child's eyes involves the audience and helps create these characters, I believe that because it was printed in a newspaper over weeks, Dickens had to use something else to keep the audience interested, and helping create these characters is very effective. The characters which he creates are archetypes of the people which we know, everyone has a strict relative or a relative who speaks down to you, the audience could relate to their childhood. I believe that Great Expectations has very effective imagery and characters, but the plot of the book was not to my taste, the story line was too simple and although it did show the divide between social classes and how it slowly changed Pip very well. ...read more.

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  1. Great Expectations Coursework

    (Paragraph three, line fifteen). However we are made to feel he may be quite brave as he went to visit the graveyard by himself at night to reminisce about the memories of his family. Dickens also uses pace to create a sad and depressing picture of Pip and what he may be feeling.

  2. Comment on the Role of Imagery in Great Expectations.

    Her first words to Pip are, "So this is Pip is it". Although his name is mentioned in this phrase the end word "it" is harsh towards Pip as he is being described not as a person but as a thing or object.

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