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Having studied 'Great Expectations,' consider Dickens' use of setting and characterisation in two sections of the novel. You should also consider the importance of these chapters to the text as a whole

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Introduction

Having studied 'Great Expectations,' consider Dickens' use of setting and characterisation in two sections of the novel. You should also consider the importance of these chapters to the text as a whole and what they tell us about the times in which Dickens was writing. Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and died in 1870. He lived in the Victorian era and was the most famous British novelist of the time, writing thirteen novels including 'Oliver Twist,' 'A Christmas Carol,' and many more. All of Dickens' books were serialised, before publishing the novel as a whole. This meant that his books were full of many characters and plot twists in order to keep the reader interested. He often wrote about crime and punishment, childhood and social status. 'Great Expectations' is about a young boy called Phillip Pirrip, known as Pip. Pip is an orphan living with his cruel sister and her husband, Joe. Pip meets an escaped convict Abel Magwitch. Pip also later on meets two other important characters, Estella and Miss Havisham. We follow Pip through his life until he becomes a gentleman. In chapter one, Pip is at the churchyard visiting his parents' and five brothers' graves, so Pip is an orphan, living with his sister and her husband Joe. ...read more.

Middle

The source of Pips is of significance throughout the novel, with Pip believing that Miss Havisham is his benefactor. Dickens has written this novel as retrospective, from Pips point of view. This is done by using a first person narrative, Dickens allows the reader to see events from Pip's point of view. An example of this in chapter one is "He gave me a most tremendous dip and roll, so that the church jumped over its own weather-cock." Events in chapter eight take place one year later. Pip is sent for by Miss Havisham to play with Estella. When Pip arrives at the decaying crumbling Satis House, he meets Estella and Miss Havisham inside. Miss Havisham has adopted Estella to break men's hearts, because Miss Havisham's groom did not appear on her wedding day, and she wants revenge on men. Estella makes Pip feel like he has lack of manners. "I was a common labouring boy" This shows that Estella makes Pip fell hurt and humiliated, and inferior to her. Chapter eight is set at 'Satis House.' Many of Dickens' characters, names and place mean something. Satis means it is satisfactory, but it also means that the house has had enough. 'Satis house' should be grand, but it has not been looked after. ...read more.

Conclusion

The lower class would have been working in factories, the middle class would have owned small factories and shops, but the upper class would have owned large companies. This was similar to chapter eight were Miss Havisham and Estella were upper class and Pip felt that he was lower class. "Common labouring boy." During 1830-1901, being a gentleman was vital, and it depended upon your wealth. In chapter eight Pip wanted to be a gentleman to impress Estella, he later does this with the money Magwitch provides. Chapter eight is significant to the rest of the novel because it shows the relationship between Pip and Estella, and how it motivates Pip. There is also a mystery surrounding Miss Havisham, and whether she is Pip's benefactor. Pip thinks its Miss Havisham because she's the only person he knows who is rich, and he and the reader thinks that Miss Havisham is his benefactor, but later on in the novel we realise that it is Magwitch. Both chapter one and chapter eight are significant because they both introduce significant characters, who play an important role later on in the novel. We meet Magwitch: Magwitch is a convict but he is kind towards Pip; the reader feels sympathy for Magwitch. We also meet Miss Havisham: she leads a strange life, she has been affected by her failed engagement and, again we are supposed to feel sympathy for this character. Both chapters have a similar setting, they are dark and cold. ...read more.

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