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How important is the setting in "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens? Look in detail at 3 separate settings that Dickens creates.

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Introduction

How important is the setting in "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens? Look in detail at 3 separate settings that Dickens creates. The settings Dickens creates are vital to Great Expectations, as these fictional locations are host to the bulk of the plot's drama, and help convey the mood of the section and its characters to the audience. The novel was written as a series of weekly instalments and so needs to grab the reader from the very start in order to keep them reading the episodes. These settings were often used in order to assess Pip's ever increasing maturity and unpredictable moods, along with the other character's moral values. Throughout the novel, the setting, amongst other devices, is used in order to make the readers see Pip in a 'good light', stopping them from losing interest and keeping their interest in the novel, even when Pip is snobbish and obnoxious. The first setting of the novel reveals the humble upbringing of the narrator, Pip, in the cold, misty marshes of the east of England. Dickens uses this setting in order to create tension, keeping the reader interested in the story, and warning them of the events that would shape Pip's expectations, whilst also using the setting to reflect the mood of Pip. ...read more.

Middle

These stark contrasts create humour as well as sympathy for Pip, encapsulating the reader in the novel. Throughout chapter 8, Dickens uses his creative ability in order to describe an environment saturated with decay and age, making the house mirror Miss Havisham. Dickens uses subtle events and remarks in order to give both the brewery and the house as a whole an ever increasing sense of ruin and decay. He uses the weather, "The cold wind seemed to blow colder there, than outside the gate," This subtle change in temperature immediately conjures a sense of increased danger and foreboding about the whole complex, as though a ghost, maybe even of Miss Havisham's freedom, haunts the place, unable to escape. "...a shrill noise in howling... like the noise of wind in the rigging of a ship at sea." Once this picture of a phantom has been implanted into the reader's mind, it is underpinned in the same sentence by the connotation of ships. As the reader puts these two products together, they are reminded of the convict, his escape, and his nights spent in the marshes. When Pip enters the Manor House, the idea of the passages being dark, and lit only by solitary candles, coupled with Pip's fear for the place, puts the reader in mind of a place far different from a large, estate like property. ...read more.

Conclusion

someone is not the same class, they are not inferior, and, in the case of the characters of Great Expectations, often have higher moral values. The setting contributes to these main themes as when Pip's fortune is thrusted upon him, he lost his close friend Jo, and never really got the same connection with Herbert. Also, the reader is informed of the country's radically different penitential system of today. The use of hulks, decommissioned warships, to house convicts, or even deport them is mentioned. The physical reduction of Magwitch, a streetwise, rough and ready convict to nothing more than a scarred wreck is documented, "When a man's alone on these flats... he hears nothing all night, but guns firing, and voices calling." Capital punishment is also featured in the novel, "... a gibbet, with some chains hanging to it which had once held a pirate." From these simple hints, it is obvious why Magwitch is slowly losing his sanity. This use of such graphic description gives the reader a true sense of reality in Dickens' creation, as though the rich locations were indeed a reality. It is this sense of trusting reality created by Great Expectations that its readers love. Without such powerful descriptive mastery, Dickens' work would be nothing more than a set of mediocre novels, not a collection of thought provoking classics. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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