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How Far Can Pips Childhood Be Described As a Traumatic One?

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Introduction

HOW FAR CAN PIPS CHILDHOOD BE DESCRIBED AS A TRAUMATIC ONE? Charles Dickens Portrays Pips life as a harsh struggle to survive against his cruel sister and the intimidating events unfolding around him. Although this appears to be traumatic in the modern sense of the issue, society has changed since the Dickensian era and Pip's early years would be far less scarring to a young boy when set in context to the common attitudes of the time. However, with the fearful encounter with Magwitch and the diminishing experience of Estella, is pip subjected to much worse suffering than the average Victorian lad? We learn almost immediately that pip leads a sad life and was orphaned at an early age. Dickens cleverly uses the opening page of the novel to display Pips isolated situation, which he builds the rest of the story upon. We quickly learn about Pips great imagination, which is an important factor in his disturbing life ahead as it causes his problems to become exaggerated and far worse than they actually are in reality. Pips imagination is shown by his ability to picture his parents from the inscriptions on their tombstones. ...read more.

Middle

Only the rich folk could afford proper tutors whom taught their scholars Latin and other prestigious subjects. The standard child's education was at a dame school, which were commonly run by an old lady with little more knowledge than her students. These schools were very poorly run as shown in GREAT EXPECTATIONS by the dame often falling asleep. Pips education at the dame school is very poor and he finds himself being taught more by Biddy. Biddy is the only person his age that he is friendly with during his childhood. Pip finds it difficult to learn and claims he "struggled through the alphabet as if it were a bramble bush". This is very important to him as it allows him to escape the torture of Mrs Joe and become a real child. Mrs Joe does not encourage Pip's education as she sees it as a source of inquisitiveness, which irritates her. Mrs Joe uses fear to manipulate Pip and stop him asking questions. She plays on his imagination by scaring him with tales of questions being the beginning of a life of crime concluding in a sentence in the hulks. ...read more.

Conclusion

Most children, especially the orphans like Pip, were forced to work in appalling conditions in the mines and factories were they toiled long arduous hours and suffered many illnesses. A lot of children grew up deformed due to the constant cramped conditions and repetitive work. Pip has been allowed to live an easy life without having to work for his existence. Mrs Joe's complaints about Pips lack of respect for what she has done for him were quite justifiable in a society were children had to work for their food and lodge. Charles Dickens himself worked in a blacking factory in London whilst his father was in prison for debt. This was a very traumatic time for him and is reflected in many of his books. In my opinion Pip has been subjected to a traumatic life due to the sorrowful deaths of his parents and the harsh punishments he has suffered from Mrs Joe. I believe a childhood is about learning about the world around you and enjoying yourself while you have very little responsibilities to worry about. However, I feel Pip has had a fairly standard life when placed in context with the society of the era and he has faced very little danger and suffering when compared to the pitiful lives of many other children in those days. ...read more.

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