• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How might the readers respond to Dickens' portrayal of women in "Great Expectations"?

Extracts from this document...


How might the readers respond to Dickens' portrayal of women in "Great Expectations"? "Break their hearts, my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy" (Miss Havisham, Chapter Twelve) When Miss Havisham tells Estella to 'break their hearts', this shows us the hurt she received through Compeyson. Miss Havisham refers to Estella as her 'pride and hope', as she feels the only way she can inflict pain on the male species is through her charge. We only get the most cursory explanation for these actions until we are half way through the novel. Readers already realise, however, that Dickens is unsympathetic as he uses the rotting wedding cake to act as a visible expression of Miss Havishams self-destructive way of life. Throughout the novel, Dickens presents the reader with two extremes of women: the obedient and the overpowering to give the reader an insight of how different women could be in the all-changing Victorian Era. I believe that Miss Havisham increasingly manipulates Pip and Estella because she wants to feel needed; she enjoys the fact that they rely on her so much. ...read more.


Mrs. Joe relishes in the compliments she receives from Uncle Pumblechook and Mr.Wopsle and uses them to her full advantage and says to Pip "You listen to this" a number of times throughout Chapter Four. Feminists may sympathise with her as she was given Pip and expected to look after him. They would see that the reason she treats Pip and Joe so badly as she feels they are the reason for her not meeting her 'Great Expectations'. Also, the reason why Pip allows Estella to treat him cruelly is due to the only 'love' he receives from Mrs. Joe being false. Some readers might come to believe that this is why Pip falls in love with Estella. "Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself." (Pip, Chapter Forty-four) Even though Estella has always been cruel to Pip, he truly believes that she is part of his 'existence' because from a very young age he was led to believe he was destined for her. Dickens uses dramatic language to concern the reader as to how Estella is 'driving' Pip to madness to the point where he seriously believes she has become a part of him. ...read more.


Nevertheless, Biddy is a useful character as she often acts as Pip's conscience; she hates the way he treats Joe and is the only person who tries to warn Pip of the heartache his ambition will bring him. When Biddy says "Are you quite sure, then, that you WILL come too see him often?" shows that she understands Pip more than he does himself when she doubts that he will return. As with Estella, Dickens is being ironic in giving Biddy her name. To bid is to offer, and to be biddable is to be obedient; Biddy is always there to offer Pip advice, and she is obedient in the fact that she ha accepted that she will never amount to anything more than a teacher. Throughout the novel, Dickens deliberately presents men and women in a different way. I believe that this is because he does not understand women; his approach to the female characters in the book is very psychological, he displays his confusion through their actions. Some might establish that the novel is semi-autobiographical as Pip suffers the same hurt through the women in his life that Dickens does. I come to believe that this is true, but all that aside, Dickens could just purely be seen as having a male point of view. Natalie Randall 10C ...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. Consider the role and presentation of women in Great Expectations and their influence on ...

    Joe doesn't care about Pip and his feelings about going to see Miss Havisham; all she thinks and cares about is what this visit could do for her financially. It is these reactions and thoughts from Mrs. Joe and Pumplechook that make Pip believe Miss Havisham is his benefactor:

  2. Compare the ways Dickens presents the characters of Estella and Biddy in 'Great Expectations'.

    Estella did not really have a job as such, but her main aim in life was to get back at men and be horrible to them.- "without looking at me, as insolently as if I was a dog in disgrace".

  1. Compare the Portrayal of Childhood in "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens's and "The Fallen ...

    Pip described her as an ugly person. Here he may have implied that she was ugly mentally and verbally, as well as physically. He also said that she was not a nice person. 'She was not a good looking woman my sister, not a nice person' Mrs.

  2. Analyse how Dickens presents the characters of Miss Havisham, Estella, Biddy and Mrs Joe ...

    that was stuck full of pins and needles." We see throughout the novel that she has serious issues, she isn't a pretty woman, shown earlier when Pip mentions, "She was not a good-looking woman, my sister," this is why she washes herself until her skin is red.

  1. What picture does Dickens’ give us of “a Gentleman” in “Great Expectations” and how ...

    In imitation of this Trabbs boy walks down the street saying; "Don't know yah! Don't know yah! Pon my soul don't know yah!" When Pip goes to London he deteriorates greatly. He becomes lazy and a snob. An example of this snobbery is when Joe visits him at his new home in London.

  2. What are your impressions of the relationships between men and women in the novel ...

    that was present, and he also wanted to portray the repetitiveness of wickedness in the human nature. He did this by creating the characters that he has in his novel and creating the relationships that is characters are involved in, and also by making the majority of his female characters dominant.

  1. Discuss the Role of Women in the lives of Pip and Laurie.

    Joe, because Pip notes how Mr. Joe follows Mrs. Joe around with his eyes during "squally times". This short phrase is a metaphor for Mrs. Joe, saying how she is like a passing storm in temper. This characteristic keeps Pip at a distance from Mrs.

  2. How does Dickens manipulate the readers feeling to theese two characters in Great Expectations?

    "I'll tell you. My Father, Pip, he were given to drink, and when he were overtook with drink, he hammered away at my mother, most omerciful. It were a'most the only hammering he did, 'xceptin myself. And he hammered at me with a wigour only to be equaled by the wigour, with which he didn't hammer at his anwil."

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