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How does Dickens Inform the Reader about The Class System in Victorian England Through Pip's Experiences?

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2005 GCSE English Coursework Great Expectations Graham Cox 10C Mrs. Karavidas How does Dickens Inform the Reader about The Class System in Victorian England Through Pip's Experiences? In Great Expectations, Dickens wants to explore what it means to be a gentleman in the rapidly changing Victorian England. He suggests that money is not everything, but you need some to get yourself started in the world. Being a gentleman means that you have to be moral, kind, courteous, hard working, financially independent and educated. Pip's experiences of social class, in some ways mirror those of Dickens' childhood. Dickens' parents were middle class but moved down the class ladder when they moved house, (they moved from quite a nice house into a slightly smaller house in a slightly less desirable area, over and over again, due to financial problems, hence moving down the class ladder) which happened quite often. We say that they have downward social mobility. In the early stages of Great Expectations, Pip experiences many different types of social classes. These include the criminal class and the upper class, two very different classes. Dickens explores the idea of a modern gentleman through Pip's experiences; at the beginning of the novel, Pip is in his own village, surrounded by people just like him and of his own class. ...read more.


The thought of getting caught and the guilt of stealing food play on Pip's mind and he has a guilty conscience for a long time. Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook are always talking about Pip being 'brought up by hand'. This theme has a habit of repeating itself throughout the novel, and Pip doesn't really understand what it. They seem to use this against him as something to be grateful for but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is not something to be grateful for. Before Pip meets Estella, he holds Joe in high regard. He thinks that being a blacksmith is like being at the top of the world. He is really looking forward to becoming Joe's apprentice when he is old enough. However, when he meets Estella and he first goes to Satis House, she makes remarks about how common Pip is: how coarse his hands are and how thick his boots are. He is really disturbed by Estella and her hurtful remarks. They make him change his views from thinking his position in society was not so bad, to thinking how common it was as Estella suggested, or rather told Pip. Pip thinks that Mr. ...read more.


He also persuades Miss Havisham to give a sum of money to her young relative. Matthew Pocket also gets a large sum of money and everything that Miss Havisham leaves behind, once again, thanks to Pip. Pip discovers that Mr. Jaggers' housekeeper, Molly is Estella's mother and that Magwitch, his benefactor, is her father. Orlick, who used to be one of Joe's apprentices, confessed to attacking Mrs. Joe after he attempted to murder Pip. He is sent to the county jail after breaking into Mr. Pumblechook's house. Magwitch has a struggle with Compeyson, the man who stood up Miss Havisham on her wedding day and ruined her life, and Compeyson dies, after betraying Magwitch. After being abroad for 11 years, Pip realizes that he has neglected Joe and Biddy and apologizes to them when he comes back, a self-made man. He realizes that his ways must change and begins the long and difficult process of becoming a true gentleman. He also goes to Satis House and visits Estella. He sees that she is no longer as black-hearted as she used to be. TO-DO LIST * Becomes a snob. * Conclusion - Dickens used this method, that method etc. * QUOTES, QUOTES, QUOTES ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Graham Cox Great Expectations 10C Page 1 of 7 ...read more.

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