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

Great Expectations. Discuss how the theme of class is explored through the first part of the novel

Extracts from this document...


Discuss how the theme of class is explored through the first part of the novel Charles Dickens "Great Expectations" one of English literature's most highly respected novels was first published in 1861. The novel fits into the Bildungsroman genre except that it's not autobiographical like typical bildungsroman books as we follow Pip's life not Dickens life. Dickens used the protagonist Pip to demonstrate the injustice received as a result of class. Social class played a major role in society and it also determined the way a person was treated and whether they had access to education or not. Dickens was born into a working class family hence so he portrayed the upper class as cold blooded people who want to inflict misery on people below them on the social hierarchy. "Great Expectations" was set in early Victorian England during the time of the industrial revolution a time where great changes were sweeping the nation. Although social class was not entirely dependent on somebody's circumstances at birth, the social divide between the rich and the poor was evident. As the prime minister who was put into term twice during the 1800's Mr Benjamin Disraeli quoted to have said that "they are like two nations" and "asx if they lived on different planets" here he is talking about the difference between the rich and poor and is implying that the two different social classes do not have any contact with each other and that they only know very little about each other's lifestyles. ...read more.


After Pip began to visit Satis House regularly and was around people of the upper class he had aspirations to be a gentleman because it is associated with romantic qualities such as luxury and education. His attitudes change towards many regular daily activities of a working class boy. One example of this is his attitude to work, this changed as before he visited miss Havisham Pip was excited to work with Joe then he changes that and is unhappy about his life "It is the most miserable thing to be ashamed of home" this shows he is ashamed of his place in society as he now wants to be a gentleman Pip is also embarrassed about his family. Pip also forgot his manners whilst he went to Satis House as he thought he could be rude to his elders as he was rubbing shoulders with the upper class "Joe, I remonstrated" shows now he has gone to Satis house he believes he is superior of Joe so he can shout at his own guardian. Miss Havisham is part of the upper class and lives in a large house named Satis House with Estella. Miss Havisham bring the "silver fork" element to this book as this was a story about the rich which fascinated the poor as this was how they learnt about the upper class and rich by books like this as they had no contact with each other. As Estella is part of the upper class she believes she has the clout to be disrespectful to people of the lower classes as they are not as rich "With this boy! ...read more.


The misty marshes near Pip's childhood home in Kent were used several times to symbolise danger and uncertainty as every time he goes into the mists of the marshes something dangerous is like to happen for example when he meets Magwitch in these marshes'! Don't cut my throat, sir," Dickens uses pathetic fallacy in the opening chapters when he is describing the marshes to depict Pip life at that time. The readers see instantly Dickens uses of pathetic fallacy from this quote "this bleak place" he is describing the marshes here and we can notice that Dickens is trying to also that Pip's life is bleak and there's nothing going on in it. In addition to that when he describes the marshes again with words and phrases such as: "nettles", "dark flat wilderness", "brambles", "cobwebs". All of these words and phrases combine together to implies a hostile place and feeling of Pip being trapped in this place and he has to struggle to make anything of himself. This also portrays the constant struggles of working class people and the feeling of being trapped in an unfair situation. To conclude, the theme of class is discussed clearly throughout the novel "Great Expectations". Dickens used characters and setting well so we could see his thoughts about social class and see what's going on with the class system during that era. He also stated obviously how the different classes were worlds apart and this helped us to get a real life aspect to the novel. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ryan Bhagat 10N 1 ...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. Both "Great Expectations" and "To Kill A Mocking bird" Are novels about childhood. Discuss ...

    Another comparison can be drawn between Compeyson and Bob Ewell. These are the true villains in the stories. Magwitch once worked for Compeyson, who, it transpires, is the man who jilts Miss Havisham. The two men are convicted of "putting stolen notes in circulation".

  2. Charles Dickens's writing techniques in Great Expectations.

    Pip understands that his expectations and his dramatic change in lifestyle affected the people that really loved him in a negative way. This made him unhappy and uneasy. When fighting with Miss Havisham, Estella says, "Only a little tired of myself."

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

    Pip, after experiencing a day at Satis House with Miss Havisham, but more importantly with Estella is profoundly discontented with his life and seeks social self-improvement. Estella creates this obsession in Pip's mind by calling him a, "common-labouring boy." This phrase had a major impact on Pip's life, and it is the source of his hunger for change.

  2. Free essay

    Great Expectations. Discuss how the theme of class is developed through Pips visit to ...

    Pip is told by the convict that he must bring him some 'wittles' (food). In addition, Pip is also told by Magwitch, that, he has a scary friend who will happily eat Pip's liver and heart. Compared with the friend, Magwitch is an 'angel'.

  1. Great Expectations - Theme of class

    He is a na�ve and frail boy, referring to his mother as 'wife of the above' because of the message engraved on her tombstone. This also shows how uneducated he is and his lack of knowledge adds to the reader's sympathy.

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

    Pip would have remained contented in his naivety of social inequality, as even he said. Yet for Dickens, naivety is not a defence for the maintenance of the existing social order, as how can you be truly free if innocent of the truth?

  1. Discuss the treatment of the theme of childhood in 'Great Expectations'

    this leads us to believe he lives an unhappy life and that all children do.

  2. The novel "Great Expectations" was intended by Charles Dickens as a social commentary on ...

    to view a trial...for half a crown". The description of London both before and after this line paints a bleak picture and appeals to the sensory perceptions of a reader, arousing feelings of doubt in such a bleak justice system. Corruption is also shown through Jaggers, who uses underhand methods and fabricates evidence for his clients.

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