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Great Expectations - How are the themes that are introduced in the first five chapters reflected in the rest of the novel?

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Introduction

Hayley Shaw Great Expectations Essay How are the themes that are introduced in the first five chapters reflected in the rest of the novel? In chapters 1-5, a number of pivotal events occur in Great Expectations that affect the characters and their actions in many different ways. In this part of the novel, Dickens introduces themes that are subsequently carried on throughout the novel. For instance, guilt is reflected continuously. Pip is shown as a guilty character, and battling with his guilty conscience becomes apparent and affects him. Death is also part of all the characters lives. In the opening of the novel we are introduced to some of the main characters, Magwitch and Pip. Pip is also the narrator and he tells us that his parents are dead. Pips immaturity and childhood fears are explored in some detail. In this story there is a definite social class division. The way Pip transforms and becomes a gentleman of a higher social class. Also the way criminals and Pip, as well as other characters are treated unjust and the way they go about getting justice. I will explore these themes in greater detail. The opening chapter in the novel begins with Pip telling us about his dead parents and siblings. 'on the authority of his tombstone'. Dickens does this to give us an idea as to what one of the main themes are in the novel, death. This tells us that death has already become part of Pip's life, and that he must already have serious emotional scars caused by death. ...read more.

Middle

This is because children see adults as fearless and brave, but Joe is afraid, which highlights how bad Mrs Joe is to live with. The way Pip says him and Joe are both brought up by hand shows Pips innocence and immaturity. If Pip was older and had a proper up bringing he would know what the term 'to be brought up' meant. Instead he says him and Joe are both brought up by hand which shows Pip thinks that the term 'brought up' means to be punished with violence, like he and Joe both are. This simply emphasises the fact that Pip is very young and na�ve, which then makes us sympathise for him because of the torments he has to put up with. Mr and Mrs Joe's relationship must have some affect on Pip. As we know it is important for a child to grow up in a loving environment instead both mature figures in the household do not have a proper relationship, Pip and Joe both live in a hostile environment because of Mrs Joe. The way Dickens names Mrs Joe reflects irony. Although the wife of Joe has taken both his names in the traditional patriarchal way (usually suggesting the wife is the husbands property) the Gargery household contrasts the patriarchal tradition. In fact, her husband is treated as a child and Pip and he are the inferior ones within the family. Estella parentage is extremely ironic. She lives in a large house and has a high social status, however her father is an escaped convict, so how can father and daughter belong to different class divisions at opposite ends of the social class spectrum? ...read more.

Conclusion

He may have respect and be looked up to, but the way he consorts with criminals suggests he isn't a moralistic character. Pip's strive to become a gentlemen was over when Magwitch left him the sum of money, he moved to London and became a gentlemen, but even Pip knew this did not make him a better person, and this is the most important lesson he learns in the novel. Criminality and justice also plays an important role in the novel. Justice plays an important part, as it is one of the key factors in the main event of the novel. Magwitch committed many crimes in his lifetime, however he had his punishment and did a good deed in order to show remorse and to have his sins repented. This is reflected in the way Magwitch dies. He has a very peaceful death, unlike some of the other characters, for example Miss Havisham, who was sinful and died in a horrific fire. This idea is also carried on when Mrs Joe is murdered, we could say she deserved this because of the terrible way she treat Joe and Pip. The most important theme in the novel is social class. This is the case because the novel is about a young man striving to better himself and become a gentleman. This involves moving from one social class to another. Dickens was successful in displaying the difficulties of class division because he highlights the fact that moving up through a social class division doesn't necessarily make you a better person, and this is a lesson Pip learns in the novel. ...read more.

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