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Great Expectations - Discuss how Dickens establishes the identity of young Pip at the start of the novel.

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Introduction

Discuss how Dickens establishes the identity of young Pip at the start of the novel. "Great Expectations" is a novel written during the 19th century by the resplendent and well-distinguished author Charles Dickens. The story itself was unintentionally assembled together in the form of a novel; in 1861 it was serialised, the story consisting of two volumes, each chapter having been released in instalments in a popular newspaper. The novel traces the social development and growth of the protagonist, Pip, from childhood to adulthood. We discover that the story is narrated from the point of view of an elderly Pip, reminiscing upon his life from the age of eight. Now, while the story from this vantage point may have its advantages, such as the privilege of being able to learn about his feelings and thoughts in more detail and accuracy; the hindrance to this is that in some instances, naturally, an event involving Pip may be noticeably adjusted to dampen the severity of the situation and the negative light that it has on him - or even the opposite, to enhance the positive light on him, distinctly exaggerating certain aspects. Pip was orphaned; his parents having been deceased around the time he was born. Pip was left under the care of his much older sister Mrs Joe Gargery, married to Joe Gargery; the village blacksmith and Pip's most loyal and loving companion (the fact that they were brothers-in-law is viewed with complete disregard). ...read more.

Middle

Pip and Joe are, to a certain extent, "in the same boat" in terms of utilising the same evasive action from "danger" around Mrs Joe. Both Joe and Pip have developed an intimate, affectionate and brotherly relationship as a result of "watching each other's backs" such as during one of Mrs Joe's "Ram-pages". Dickens has a distinct custom of using the setting to develop the image of the character or convey his character's feelings - this happens when Pip returns to the marshes to give food to the convict in Chapter Three. For example, at the beginning of this chapter, throughout the first page, Pip is continuing with the story, but Dickens creates an eerie, tense atmosphere by describing the setting. Using words such as "rimy", "damp", "marshes", "cold", "spiders' webs", and using negative figures like "goblins" and "phantoms" conveys Pip's feelings as he carries the burden of committing larceny, and running to potential danger, the frightening convict. Words such as "cold" and "phantom" create a sense of dread, eeriness and fear. A while later in the novel, during Chapter Eight, Pip visits the truly mystifying Miss Havisham, a crucial character who plays possibly the biggest role in changing Pip's life. It is in this chapter where a new realisation dawns in Pip, and he looks at his life in a new perspective, and not entirely in a positive light. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, in the story, Pip relies mostly on Biddy to teach him the ways of life and literacy; Biddy herself not being well-educated at all and even more so than Joe. In Chapter Seven, Joe reveals that he had no schooling, and Pip derives that Joe's education "was yet in its infancy,". This suggests that Dickens' attitude towards education was quite uninvolved (this could be partly to do with him not having proper schooling as well) and by using examples such as Joe and Biddy he illustrates how working-class, poor and even middle-class were divested of their education. As I draw to an end to my assessment of young Pip through Volume I of the novel, I will review the comments I have made on the identity of Pip. As a narrator, the old Pip has thoroughly recollected, evaluated and accepted the changes throughout his life and meticulously developed our understanding of his feelings and character throughout. Dickens has portrayed his view of the Victorian system of education, and how only the noble and rich deserved education, not the middle and lower classes of society. In the opening of "Great Expectations" I think Dickens attempted to achieve a near-perfect way of depicting and giving the reader the impression he intends them to of Pip. I think Dickens has been very successful in establishing Pip's character, especially by employing his customary technique of using the setting and atmosphere to reinforce the image of Pip and his feelings. ?? ?? ?? ?? Charles Dickens - Great Expectations Haaziq Farook 11o ...read more.

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