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Satis house has been described as the

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Satis house has been described as the "perfect reflection of Miss Havisham's living death: the once luxurious house has been allowed to decay around her". Consider the importance of place in Great Expectations. How does Dickens use place to set the scene for events and characters? "He was the author of novels that had shapes the literature of age and the creator of characters that had became proverbial", (Dr John Bowen). Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations in 1860-61and was one of his later novels. It is about a young boy called Philip Pirrip (Pip) whose parents and five brothers were dead, so he lived with his big sister (Mrs Joe) who "raised him by hand". Born in the lifeless marshes of Kent, and destined to become a blacksmith's apprentice to his big sister's husband (Joe), Pip's existence was as lifeless as his homeland. He goes through a traumatic experience with a convict called Magwitch, who bullies Pip into getting him nourishment and a file for the iron on his leg. Pip helps him and doesn't tell anyone about it. But after being invited to the lady Miss Havisham's Satis House, he is shown a new world. He meets Miss Havisham's ward, the young, pretty yet cruel girl Estella there and he spends many a time in his childhood at the Satis house playing with her. He becomes strongly attracted to her, but he feels he could never win her heart because of his poor background. ...read more.


It is a clear reflection of her, mentally, physically and metaphorically. The once glorious house has decayed around her, and the once glorious Miss Havisham has decayed inside it. The symbolism of decay is shown in the rotting feast, particularly the wedding cake that she wishes her dead body to be placed and her relatives to feast upon her own flesh. The cake was once part of the feast for her wedding, but when Compeyson broke her heart, the marriage was destroyed, as was Miss Havisham's life. The cake symbolises her state of mind and position in life. The courtyard outside of the house is described as "paved and clean, but grass was growing in every crevice". This could show that barely anyone had walked on it, and that it had been left without care to cause the grass to grow wildly. The same could be said about Miss Havisham, she wears clear white and elegant clothes and jewellery that have been undisturbed for years, yet her mind has been forgotten about without care, to grow wild and bizarre. The image of wild overgrown garden could add quite a contrasting effect upon the reader. At first when little description of the house had been made apart from the previous quote, we would think of it kind of like a jungle with no animals, yet at the same time like an abandoned village. "All the brewery beyond stood open, away to the high enclosing wall; and all was empty and disused". ...read more.


He spent most of his life here, and he would often walk the city streets, 10-20 miles at a time, giving him the extra power to be able to build the smells, sights and sounds into his own masterpiece. My conclusion is that Dickens uses place to set the scene for characters and events with more than just the writing on the paper. He fashioned the places into the book as part of his self and soul, to create characters and situations of immense realism yet with a twist of comedy, tragedy and fulfilling happiness. "They had all been born on their backs with their hands in their trousers-pockets". This creates the amusing picture of Pip's brothers with their hands in their pockets, even though they are dead, adding a sense of humour, yet at the same time making the reader aware that his family is tragically dead. Dickens used places like the marshes, Satis House and London to create unique images of character's personality, appearance and position in life. Like the crumbling Satis House, which reflects Miss Havisham to show her life is likewise, rotting away with nothing to save it. Through his own personal experiences, he has added an extra power to his writing that cannot simply be recognised word from word, but must be experienced through the pleasures and entertainment of the little thing called reading. It is now truly clear after reading the novel, that Great Expectations is "one of the best organised and most well constructed of all novels, with scarcely a wasted gesture, character or event", (Dr John Bowen). Robin Allan ...read more.

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