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I am going to base my coursework on question 14 on what Dickens thought what meant to be a gentleman.

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Introduction

Ravi Purani 10AS English Coursework I am going to base my coursework on question 14 on what Dickens thought what meant to be a gentleman. I am going to do this because I too found this interest to what it actually means to be a gentleman. Throughout the novel of Great Expectations, Dickens is interested in what it means to be a gentleman. He tries to show us by telling us a story about a young boy Pip in which he grows up trying to become a gentleman, through Joe who is Pip's brother in law who is a poor but a decent, hardworking man and also Magwitch the convict, who changes through the story but Pip especially changes. Great Expectations was narrated by Pip which he talks about his childhood and he growing up. This is called Bildungstoman. There was only really one reason why Pip wanted to become a gentleman, and that was to impress Estella, the girl he loved ever since he first gazed into her beautiful eyes. I thought that this was a bad choice to do because he tried to become something which he really that he wasn't was by changing class systems. "Biddy" [...], "I want to be a gentleman". Even Biddy thought that this was not a good idea and tried to warn him not to. "Oh, I wouldn't if I was you", [...] "I don't think it would answer". He thinks that by being a gentleman, he can win over Estella's heart, but he thinks that by becoming a gentleman, he and Estella would be equal. I think this because back in the Victorian Times, class was very important of a person's status and place in society and still is nowadays but some people now don't like to think about it and think of each other as equals. Dickens tells us this by when Pip says that he wants to become a gentleman. ...read more.

Middle

a gentleman was so to go through this change would make him see the audiences response of what they thought a gentleman was. I think this is quite an effective technique using the audience to see how they respond to these changes because it gives him an idea of what a gentleman is so then he can add it to his novel. To me, Joe is a gentleman. The way he acts and the words he says to people is a way a gentleman would speak: politely, caring, sharing, and hard working especially when he wasn't upset when the convict took his pie but was actually thankful for not letting himself starve which most people in this world would not do. He never really says anything bad to anyone that offends them or makes them upset. A gentleman is a person who stands out and to me; Joe stands out as a character. Dickens portrays Joe to how Pip should be I think. I say this because when Pip becomes a gentleman, Joe was already one to everyone so I think he was setting an example. I think he's just a good person because he just lives a simple, easy and nice life. It also could be by the fact that he was raised like this by his parents but I don't know because the novel does not mention his background, just that he is married to Pip's elder sister. Joe is a gentleman. He is never rude to anyone and never got angry in the novel even once. The way he behaves which is quiet, polite, kind, sharing and caring is the ways you can tell he is a gentleman. Sometimes, I felt sorry for him that he didn't get more because he deserves a lot more. Joe views Pip as a hardworking and caring person. I say this because Joe knows it will take a long time and hard work for him to become a gentleman and he is caring because from time to time, he is concerned for everyone especially when he leaves. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Victorian Times, social class was everything and this was how people were grouped and separated from each other; the rich away from the poor. Changing social class would be very difficult and especially for a young mind like Pip. You would have to understand that Pip was given money; a lot of money which he did not expect, so he wasn't really sure how to deal with it and maybe that's why him moving up social class was more harder for him than anyone else. Of course, women were also grouped a bit differently than men. When a woman married a man, she would have to take her husbands name which you can tell that back in those days it was sexism as men were thought to be more superior and women were just expected to stay home and look after the house and the kids. Women only had a few rights aswell in that time. Dickens published this book and basically told a novel of what happened in those days. This was when the economy gave rise to a wealthy middle class which again may have been a reason why class systems occurred. Crimes and disease also occurred. Only men with power and property could vote excluding out poor men, poor women and even powerful women. I think that Dickens's view and the rest of society's view were not the same. I think that Dickens's view was to show that what social class systems can affect society but I reckon for the rest of society, it didn't make a difference I think that Great Expectations was a novel of a kind which I have never read before. It has everything a novel should need and I do think at the end, Dickens still is not sure by what a gentleman is as he does not really give us what it means but maybe it was a question for us. ...read more.

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