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How does dickens used characters in volume one to present the themes of great expectations?

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Great Expectations coursework How does dickens used characters in volume one to present the themes of great expectations? 'Great expectations' is a novel about a young boy called Pip. He has bought up in a working class society but he longs to be upper class. The story follows how he makes his way to a higher class but somehow forgets who is along the way. Some of the themes in the novel are class-system, revenge, family and education. Class is a main theme and the whole storyline focuses on this, and how concerned Victorian society was about it. You could tell just by looking at a person whether they were lower, middle or upper-class. You could change class but you would have to have the right clothes, money, job and accent to fit into the way of living. However dickens himself did not think that wealth necessarily made you a better person. Pip is the main character in 'Great Expectations,' he is involved in all the themes of the novel. The class system is a focal point in young Pip's life. As a child he began to feel ashamed of who he was. ...read more.


I shouldn't like to see her again' These two quotations show us how he had his heart set on her, then relating it to later on in the novel we can see he has not had a change of heart. The further the novel continues the more Pip becomes a less-likable character. His attitude towards everything around him changes and the only thing he cares about is himself. Dickens has a very similar attitude on society, quite similar to Pip. Dickens also started off lower class and built his way to the top. He saw how wealth supposedly made life easier and poverty made it miserable. I think dickens bases the character of Pip on himself. Closely related in the way of the storyline are Miss Havisham and Estella. Miss Havisham is an old woman full of misery and heart-break. She lives in a mansion called satis house with Estella. Miss Havisham invites Pip to come and 'Play' at the house. It is all part of a plan and she says she has 'sick fancies.' This shows something strange is going on in her mind. Their house is more like a Prison and Miss Havisham is a prisoner in her own home as she never leaves the house. ...read more.


Magwitch is initially presented as an animal and the lowest class. Dickens vividly describes him writing words such as 'shivered, glared and growled.' This makes the man seem more like a creature than a human. Looking at his clothing and accent he was marked out as poor. This is very stereo-typical as the irony of the novel is that he is the one that earns and gives Pip his fortune. Pip is a benefactor of Magwitch's wealth; this money allows Pip to become a gentleman. Magwitch has always wanted to get revenge on the society he lives in for punishing him and sending him to prison. He wants to prove this by showing that anyone can be upper-class if they are given the right money and education. Pip is his example to show this. In the mind of Magwitch he is achieving his revenge although Pip never really realizes this. From all of the main characters if the novel shown above and the way they all express the main themes. Dickens paints a picture of what Victorian society was like. I think it was very strict and it was also very hard to fit in. Dickens shows how money and education affected your life. Great expectations is a real eye-opener to the mind behind this corrupt society. By Emily Batty 10-6 ...read more.

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