• 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 portray characters through

Extracts from this document...


How does Charles dickens portray characters through their settings in his novel Great Expectations? This essay will analyse how Charles Dickens portrays characters through their settings in chapters one and eight in the world famous novel Great Expectations. Firstly I will give a brief background of Charles Dickens and how his life experiences have had an effect on this novel. Secondly I will describe the social and historical background which influenced Dickens when writing this story. Next I will describe how Dickens portrayed characters though their settings and finally provide an impartial conclusion. Charles Dickens was born on the 7th of February 1812 in Portsmouth and died at the age of 58. Much of his earlier years were spent outdoors in the country and reading until his father was imprisoned and at the age of 12, Dickens was sent to work in a boot blacking factory, near where they then lived in Camden Town, London. A lot of connections between Dickens poor early life and his desire to separate from them are portrayed in Pips story. Dickens was a fierce critic of poverty wishing to improve their conditions although he felt himself to be superior to them. He showed this in many of his novels. At the time when Great Expectations was written Queen Victoria was on the throne. ...read more.


This is the turning point of Pips life as later on in the novel Magwitch helps Pip. Magwitch and the marshes are very similar as he is "wet", "smothered in mud", "lamed by stones", and "cut by flints", "stung by nettles and torn by briars". The word choice suggests Magwitch is part of the marshes. The verbs used like "limped", "shivered" and his "teeth chattered" show the marshes transforming Magwitch into a different person. Whilst Magwitch is threatening to cut Pips throat, Pip still has respect for his elders by saying "Sir". Throughout the chapter I saw that Dickens spelt many of Magwitchs words wrong for example point which he spells "pint". This demonstrates he has a working class dialect and is uneducated. Dickens uses references from fairy tales like red riding hood when Magwitch "licks his lips". The language changes often between younger Pip and older more educated Pip. Dickens makes Magwitch intimidate Pip by using several techniques like using high angle shots making Magwitch appear even bigger compared to the helpless Pip. Magwitch picks Pip up and shakes him and makes stories up about an evil man who wants to kill Pip, this makes Pip even more terrified than before. Magwitch does this because he is desperate for the food and the file so he can survive. Chapter eight introduces an old, lonely and tired of life Miss Havisham in her run down decrepit mansion called Satis which means satisfied. ...read more.


Dickens yet again uses a reference from a fairy tale. This time Miss Havisham only has one wedding shoe on which is similar to that of Cinderella. Miss Havisham has created a separate world for herself where time and daylight have no meaning so when Pip leaves the house he feels confused and disorientated. Pip is made to feel uneducated and "coarse" by Estella, her insulting manner makes him feel a mixture of emotions including "angry", "offended" and "humiliated". He released his anger by kicking the deserted wall of the abandoned brewery. The "rank garden" of the house, the "gloom" of the brewery and the emptiness adds a ghostly spookiness. To conclude I feel that Charles Dickens succeeds in portraying characters through their settings in his novel Great Expectations. I came to this conclusion because the two characters I have studied Magwitch and Miss Havisham both compare with their settings. Magwitch a lower class uneducated prisoner resembles the marshes by the use of descriptive words chosen. For example "soaked in water"," smothered by mud", "lamed by stones", "cut by flints", "stung by nettles" and "torn by briars" all could equally describe the marsh landscape. Miss Havisham's connection with her house is portrayed by the use of descriptive words like "old", "dismal" and "run down", the language used emphasizes decay, rotting and ageing all these descriptive words are happening to both her house and to Miss Havisham, for example her "faded" clothes and "sunken eyes". Dickens also makes sure that the settings tie in with the characters social class. ...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. Compare and Contrast Pips Life on the Marshes to his Life in London.

    Although Pip is not very nice to Biddy this doesn't faze her, as she is smarter than Pip and can take what he says and turn it round to confuse Pip. Pip begins to describe and we see him opening up feelings for her.

  2. How does Dickens use language to portray characters and settings in Great Expectations, focusing ...

    The convict makes him swear that he will help him, so pip finds him the next morning and gives him food and drink. The next day a police patrol comes to pips door to ask the help of Joe (who is a blacksmith).

  1. Great expertations What techniques does Dickens use to present the characters?

    She has 'shrunk' which tells us that she must be more like a living corpse rather than a human. Ms. Havisham has 'sunken eyes'. Dickens uses this because she is decaying everything about her is decomposing. Therefore her eyes have been buried right inside her.

  2. Prose Assignment- Charles Dickens - "A characters description clearly shows the kind of life ...

    Another point to prove this is that it says that he has cannibal appetite with tender wives, it says: "Captain Murderers mission was matrimony, and the gratification of cannibal appetite with tender wives" this also proves that he is a murderer (hence the name)

  1. The opening graveyard scene of Charles Dickens ' Great Expectations' has become part of ...

    is done by making the light and setting brighter behind Pip than it is behind Magwitch's this makes the audiences think Pip is nice and Magwitch isn't all though they my not notice it. Nonetheless the light helps you to feel what the setting is like for, example the dark

  2. Biography of Charles Dickens

    He eventually decided to place his own sacrificing lover in the revolutionary period, a period of great social upheaval. A year later, Dickens went through his own form of social change as he wrote the novel; he separated from his wife, and revitalized his career by making plans for a new weekly literary journal called All the Year Round.

  1. Explore what Charles Dickens

    The adult Pip would know all these facts from the moment he begins his tale but keeps these from the reader until he is recounting the part when he found out himself. This is so the reader gets a hint of what is to come but doesn't exactly know what to expect, therefore does not lose interest.

  2. Look again at chapters 1 and 8 where Pip first meets Magwitch and Miss ...

    so this tells us he is an orphan and doesn't actually have many opportunities. One opportunity he does have is to become an apprentice blacksmith to his brother in law. As ever since his parents died his older sister has looked after him by hand with her husband, the blacksmith.

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