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

How does Charles Dickens create characters that are both memorable and striking in the novel 'Great Expectations'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Charles Dickens create characters that are both memorable and striking in the novel 'Great Expectations'? In 'Great Expectations' Charles Dickens shows his marvellous talent by creating archetypal characters that readers can genuinely sympathise with and relate to. With an intricate mix of dialogues, direct description, setting and atmosphere, Dickens fashions characters that are striking and memorable. He utilises the characters to a great effect in order to shed light on the Victorian class system, and his views on it. Great Expectations is set in a period very different to ours, it is in the Victorian period. A period in which the class system was important. The class system 'refers to the ranking of people into a hierarchy within a culture' (Wikipedia). There was a large contrast in those times, between those at the top, the rich, and those at the bottom, the poor. In real life, it was widely known that Dickens did not like the rich and the power that they wielded over others. This is why he portrays the rich in a bad light and the poor in a good light. This is a habit of Dickens' that he uses in other books as well, for example, Oliver Twist. Again, Dickens' uses the same method in this book, by outlining the changes in Pip's attitude when he goes from being 'common' to a 'gentlemen'. This makes the characters memorable and striking to the reader as Dickens uses a stereotypical approach, the evil rich person versus good poor hero. Great Expectations presents the reader with the development and growth of a character by the name of Phillip Pirrip, or Pip. He is by far the most important character. It seems that there really are two Pips in the book; he is both the protagonist, whose actions make up the main plot of the novel, and the narrator, whose thoughts, actions and reaction help change the readers' perspective and judgement. ...read more.

Middle

One of the best examples of this is when we learn of Estella's distaste for our 'common' Pip. She makes it pretty clear what she thinks of him. He is called a "common labouring boy" and is also described as having 'coarse hands' and 'thick boots'. These hurtful pieces of dialogue targeted at Pip help make both of them memorable. Why? Well, again the readers are sympathetic towards Pip as they are looking from his point of view and do not like to see him 'running away crying'. In addition, when they realise what Estella characteristics are like in comparison to Pip's, they begin to appreciate his qualities even more as they are reminded about what Pip could have been like had he been brought up differently, this further endears him to the readers. Also, they feel contempt towards Estella for saying such things which also make her striking in the readers' minds. Furthermore, the battle between evil rich person and good poor person starts up again here between Estella and Pip. This again, intrigues the reader further as they look to find out what Pip's comeback will be. This further helps to make the pair of them striking. The contrast in characteristics is not the only thing however, that intrigues the readers. They are also amazed and interested to see how fond Pip is of Estella, even though she continues to abuse him whenever he comes over. Similar to when a dog follows its owner even after being continuously beaten. Miss Havisham taught Estella to be rude and condescending to Pip, and thus she would 'break his heart' just like hers had been a long time ago. She often talked down to him like he was just a silly common boy. One day when Pip was leaving, Estella gave him permission to kiss her. After doing so, Pip thought he would feel very good but that was not the case. ...read more.

Conclusion

This decision to choose the 'high life' on Pip's part, forces the readers to rethink their judgement of him even more. They also find out how much he has changed since he became a 'gentlemen'. This change in attitude makes him more prominent in the readers' minds. This change is even more enhanced when compared to Wemmick's way of living. This also endears Wemmick to the readers as he is now the new 'good guy' in the novel Dickens repeats certain words exactly or words of the same effect to help create a gloomy atmosphere, which usually draws contrast or parallels the characters' attitudes. For example, through the book words such as 'ghastly', 'sunken', 'dead' and 'buried' are used for atmospheric reasons thus relating to the character and making them more memorable. Alliteration is also used such as 'low leaden line' and 'small bundle of shivers' to really ram home the setting again for added impact and make contrast or parallels with characters to make them more memorable. Pip's story is not about living happily ever after with Estella. Dickens never tells us what happens, if anything, between them in the end. He leaves it only that they remain 'friends'. There is a purpose for this. Estella is present in Pip's thoughts more than actual interaction between the characters. Due to this lack of interaction, the readers do not discover if Estella really had changed or if she loved Pip. Therefore, even at the end, Dickens is making the readers ask questions of Estella and Pip, thus enhancing them one last time. In 'Great Expectations' Charles Dickens shows his marvellous talent by creating archetypal characters that readers can genuinely sympathise with and relate to. With an intricate mix of dialogues, direct description, setting and atmosphere, Dickens fashions characters that are striking and memorable. He utilises the characters to a great effect in order to shed light on the Victorian class system, and his views on it. Kishan Davdra 10R ...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 Other Authors 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 Other Authors essays

  1. How does Ayub Khan-Din portray conflict in the play East is East

    Even Abdul understands why Sajit hides away in his parka. "I wish I had a parker". This is what he says when he is deciding whether he should do as his father tells him and get married or listen to Tariq - having a parka would mean he could escape from reality temporarily.

  2. How does Shaw draw the audience's attention to issues of social class in Act ...

    Furthermore, by addressing this social issue through humour, Shaw makes sure that these ideas are memorable to the audience. One technique that Shaw uses a great deal of, and is probably what he is most famous for is his extensive and meticulous stage directions.

  1. Ralph says "Things are breaking up I don't understand why. We began well. We ...

    But he is far from welcomed and after escaping murder, he is kidnapped and imprisoned on a ship bound for Carolina. When the ship is wrecked, David and the fiery Alan Breck make their way back across the treacherous Highland terrain on a quest to see that justice is done.

  2. What do we learn of Shaw's attitude towards class from "Pygmalion" ?

    She is the moral face of the upper class. Professor Higgins' final triumph is his winning the bet of passing Eliza off as a duchess at an Embassy party in London. Eliza, however, is distraught, as she finally realises that she means nothing more than a challenge to Higgins.

  1. Arcadia Essay - Thomasina

    As she reacts so fiercely to Septimus' actions, in a way it undermines her previous speech on the downfalls of love - the outburst of emotion perhaps gives the audience the impression that she was indeed putting on a front in earlier scenes.

  2. Discuss the importance of stage directions in Miller's "A View from the Bridge" and ...

    directions reveal his true feelings, ones he would never express out loud. Eddie suddenly kisses his niece on the lips, "he kisses her on the mouth" this is more than just a drunken rage, it is the true feelings of Eddie and he tries to cover himself by kissing Rodolfo

  1. Change Is Good, But Not Always - in A Lost Lady, Willa Cather uses ...

    lifestyle "I've drained the marsh and out it into wheat" (88). Ivy's also found Mrs. Forrester some land in Wyoming (presumptively to live in) "He's got a little money invested in me in Wyoming, in land" (104). Niel however sees through Ivy in terms of the investment "He'll take advantage of anybody's necessity" (105).

  2. Discuss the relationship between Frank and Rita in Educating Rita how does it change ...

    that coming from a working class background doesn't make you any less capable to learn and achieve something. However with all this extra support coming from Frank, Rita still only sees him as a tutor and a friend. Frank on the other hand is sexually attracted to Rita because he

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