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Through close study of Pip and Estella, show how Dickens presents an image of Victorian childhood in 'Great Expectations'.

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Introduction

Through close study of Pip and Estella, show how Dickens presents an image of Victorian childhood in 'Great Expectations' Childhood has changed dramatically in the last 200 years. Life was hard and rough for working people in Britain at the end of the 19th century. From a very early age, children were expected to do all they could to help their parents, this was necessary in order for the family to survive. Life was quite different in a wealthy home- there was plenty of space, good food and clothes, and no duties to do as a child. However all children were expected to be seen and not heard, and to respect their elders. 'Be grateful, boy, to them which brought you up by hand' - Mr. Pumblechook, page 26 In the novel Great Expectations, there are three children who grow up throughout the story, Pip the main character, Estella, and Herbert Pocket. Society was firmly divided into three parts in the Victorian era, there were upper class, middle class, and working class people. ...read more.

Middle

who brought you up by hand?' - Mrs Joe Gargery, page 11 Mrs Joe Gargery has established a great reputation with herself and the neighbours because she has brought Pip up by hand. But in this case, by hand means to be brought up using violence. Mrs Joe used Tickler to beat Pip. 'Tickler was a wax-ended piece of cane, worn smooth by collision with my tickled frame' - Pip, page 10 This certainly worked to beat fear in to him as shown on page 15; Pip and Joe are trying to communicate without speaking so that Mrs Joe doesn't get angry. Using violence to teach children to behave was not uncommon in the Victorian era, particularly in schools. In fact, if the child had been naughty at home the parents would often tell the headmaster so that he would be punished in school. It was not compulsory to go to school in Victorian times, but for those who could afford it, it was seen as a great privilege to be getting an education, today it seems more like a chore! ...read more.

Conclusion

Here the sergeant asked everybody if they had seen the convicts. 'Everybody, myself expected, said no, with confidence. Nobody thought of me' - Pip, page 31 Children had none of the 'ready made entertainment' we have today and far fewer toys. Working class families could not afford toys, so the children made up their own games out of everyday objects, and invented songs and rhymes, Upper-class children played cards, and basic board games. 'Let me see you play cards with this boy' - Miss Havisham. Page 57 As Estella is an upper-class rich child, she can afford cards to play with. I have found out many interesting facts whilst exploring Victorian childhood both through my own research and by reading about the characters in Dickens' book Great Expectations. Compared with today, there has clearly been dramatic changes during the past 200 years in many areas including; home life, education, health and work. Although the characters in this book do not show a necessarily typical portrayal of Victorian childhood as both children were reasonably well brought up compared to many other children of this time, you can clearly see the differences with the modern day and how fortunate we really are. Jo Denyer 10D1 1 ...read more.

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