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shirley valentine

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Introduction

Great Expectations The novel "Great Expectations" was written by Charles Dickens in the 1870's. "Great Expectations" is about a boy called pip who is an orphan living in working class conditions in Victorian times and is very happy until he visits the dreaded satis house and meets Miss.Havisham and falls in love with Estella and realises how insignificant he is compared to the rich finally making bad choices in life and regretting them later on in his life. In this essay I will discuss how the themes of class, self-development, education, family and friends are developed through pip's visit to satis house. This novel is classified as a Bildungsroman as it deals with characteristics such as Auto-biography's, Ancestry, and Education, Desire, Love and Social conditions. This novel was written to display Dickens's attitudes towards the working class. Dickens' campaigned to help the working class so that they could rise in social standard. He believed that the working class should be given the chance to better themselves through the use of education. Satis house is a house belonging to Miss.Havisham. It is located up town and signifies a divide between the working class and the higher class. From the outside of the house we can see that it is old and falling down. Pip describes the house as being "of old brick and dismal" from this description of the house we know that the house is deteriorating. The house can also be seen as a divide between rich and poor. ...read more.

Middle

Dickens uses imagery to describe how Estella leads Pip down a path of destruction, "but she answered at last and her light came along the dark passage like a star". Pip thought of Estella as a star. The name Estella means star which could symbol for Pip to reach for. Estella is shown as a light and Pip as a moth that wants to follow it. Estella calls Pip "boy" which shows that even though they are about the same age, she is superior in social standing to Pip. Pip addresses Estella as "miss" showing his politeness and a clear class divide. "She was as scornful to me as if she had been one and twenty and a queen" this quote shows that Estella believes herself to be older and more important than Pip because she is of a higher class. In the novel, after visiting Satis house, Pip grows aware of his social class, and desires to climb the social ladder and better himself so that he can win Estella's heart. After visiting Satis house Pip becomes disappointed and ashamed of himself. "As I cried I kicked the wall and took a hard twist at my hair" this shows Pip's physical reactions to being insulted by Estella. "I was so humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry" these adjectives reveal Pip's feelings. Pip reflected how Estella treated him. "As if I were a dog in disgrace" Pip becomes aware of his social class and where he stands compared to Estella. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Satis house episode revealed that the upper class tried to keep the working class out of their society. Dickens own experiences have informed this viewpoint because he has experienced both the working and higher classes. In Victorian times the working class were rarely given a good enough education for them to excel in society this is because the government didn't want them to revolt. "All the brewery stood open, away to the high closing wall and all was empty and disused" this signifies that the brewery is redundant just like the higher class. Dickens promotes the particular view of equality between the classes. Dickens believed that everyone, no matter what class they belonged to, deserved and education; a chance to better themselves. One chapter that presents this value is Pip who starts off by being destined to become a working class blacksmith but later in the story is given the chance to better himself. I think dickens based the character Pip on himself as Dickens started off in the working class and later became rich and powerful. Dickens had sympathy for the poor working class because they had to struggle to survive whereas the higher class had everything they needed and more. Great Expectations is a novel about Pips self-development. The theme of class is developed through Pip's visit to Satis house. This is theme that runs throughout the story. The novels genre is bildungsroman which deals with themes such as autobiography, ancestry, education, desire, social conditions and love. Dickens disapproved of the upper class and uses the novel to protest against inequality in Victorian society. ...read more.

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