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The themes that are introduced and emphasised in Chapter 8 of Charles Dickens Great Expectations are a near complete summary of the themes of the novel as a whole and of the conditions in which the English people had to live with in the 1800s.

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Introduction

IN WHAT WAYS DO THE THEMES OF CHAPTER EIGHT OF 'GREAT EXPECTATIONS' REFLECT THE THEMES OF THE BOOK OVERALL? The themes that are introduced and emphasised in Chapter 8 of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations are a near complete summary of the themes of the novel as a whole and of the conditions in which the English people had to live with in the 1800's. This chapter epitomises the circumstances in which English people lived and the situations that they faced, and it looks at many different perspectives and takes into account many different factors. The Industrial Revolution was a period in time when everything in England changed rapidly, and Dickens made sure that he captured England's huge transition in every light he could. Dickens himself lived in poverty for a number of years, and his main motive for writing books (such as Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby) was his desire to see change. These books are based around injustice and the divide between wealth and poverty. Chapter 8 of Great Expectations clearly defines the issues that Dickens sought to deal with through writing. The very first thing that happens in Chapter 8 Pip's uncomfortable breakfast with Mr Pumblechook. Pip states in his narrative that 'on politely bidding him Good morning', Pumblechook immediately asked him a mathematics question. The breakfast then proceeds to continues in this manner ('before I had swallowed a morsel, he began a running sum that lasted throughout breakfast.') This is a prime example of control. This is one of the themes that come to the fore as the novel progresses. Pip finds that he very rarely has a choice in matters, he is either forced to do something or it would be very foolish or insulting to decline making certain choices. His life his almost completely influenced by others, and he often has no control over it at all. In Chapter 8, he is controlled by Pumblechook (as afore mentioned), Estella ('"You are to wait here, boy."') ...read more.

Middle

(Estella's view on the quality of the beer at the abandoned brewery) 'Better not to brew beer there now or it would turn out sour...' (this has a subtext that tells us that even the things that are meant to cause pleasure can be corrupted.) (Pip on Miss Havisham's bridal clothing) 'She had not quite finished dressing... I saw that everything within my view which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre, and was faded and yellow.' '...grave-like clothes...' (Dickens adds a feeling that everything withers and dies against the test of time, and maintains the feeling of dilapidation and ruination.) '... I saw a figure there hanging by the neck... the face was Miss Havisham's... And my greatest terror of all was when I found no figure there' (this is a straightforward morbid vision which simply makes the reader shocked and scared. In addition, the fact that Pip is only a child at this stage makes the fact that he is observing something so ghastly all the more horrible.) In Chapter 8, the feeling of death and decay is brought to the fore. And later on, as well as flashes of the feel encapsulated in this chapter, the feel of hard work in dirty conditions is brought out as Pip grows accustomed to life with upper class society. Negative imagery is used throughout the book, but Chapter 8 gives Satis House and menacing aura and character, and is used to great effect in describing the mysterious and macabre Miss Havisham. In Great Expectations, love is not stereotyped to be romantic and unequivocal. It is complex and often ends up in broken hearts and shattered dreams. Throughout the novel, many people, such as Pip, Biddy, Joe Gargery, Molly, Magwitch, Herbert Pocket and Estella find out the nature of love to their expense, but in Chapter 8, there is one character that seems to have endured the full extent of the pain caused by love. ...read more.

Conclusion

Pumblechook, all the way up to the obscenely wealthy Miss Havisham. And as Pip climbs each rung up the social ladder, his ambition forces him to strive to climb up onto the next one and 'improve' his life and standing. But when Magwitch is caught and dies and Pip loses his expectations, it becomes clear to him that having and giving respect, loyalty and affection, as he gives to Magwitch, Herbert and Estella and receives from Herbert, Magwitch and (rather undeservedly) from Joe and Biddy, is of more importance in being gentlemanly than flaunting excessive riches. Magwitch, although on the lowest rung of the social ladder in England as he was exiled, has higher moral values than Bentley Drummle, a young, loutish man living the lavish life in London. Thus, as Pip realizes at the end of the novel, the people like Joe, who helped Pip recover from illness even after he had been shunned and humiliated at Pip's hands, and Magwitch, who risked life and limb trekking to England to see his 'London Gentleman', are far nobler than a man like Drummle could ever be. But Chapter 8 shows how people can be blinded by ambition in order to attain something which can be deceptively close. Chapter 8 of Dickens' 'Great Expectations' is an excellent summary of not only the themes that are maintained or developed and changed throughout the novel, but of the circumstances in which Dickens lived before and during the time in which he wrote all of his books. People having control over other people as a result of a strict hierarchical system and the decisive triumph of inner goodness over material wealth are the main topics in the plot. The plot is interlinked with graphic and sombre imagery which adds another level of understanding and depth. And the nature of love is studied in detail as never being fulfilling and always ending in broken hearts. In these ways does this chapter encapsulate and reflect the events and general feelings of the book. ?? ?? ?? ?? BRAMAN THILLAINATHAN GCSE ENGLISH COURSEWORK ...read more.

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