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What role does social class play in 'Great Expectations'?

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Introduction

What role does social class play in 'Great Expectations'? In 'Great Expectations' social class plays a very important role. 'Great Expectations' is all about the role social class played in Victorian times, because in that time there was a very strict social class system and usually people who were born in a particular class would have lived there whole lives in that class. The only way people from that era would have moved up the social system, was if someone from higher up the system, took a liking to them and invested in their future. This novel, which is in the style of a bildungsroman, shows Pip moving through the class system, this actually happening to a young boy from the country fascinated people. Most boys from that era would have wanted and aspired to become a gentleman, because if you were a gentleman you would have had better living conditions, better cloths and better jobs, because if they had stayed working class they would have had to live in little often infested houses, would have worn rags and have jobs such as miners and blacksmiths. Unless you were born in the upper class that would have been very difficult to achieve, Dickens realised how hard it ...read more.

Middle

When Pip becomes a gentleman various characters start to act differently towards him, these characters include Joe, Biddy and Mr. Jaggers. Firstly Mr. Jaggers changes his mind about Pip in a good way, because as Pip starts to change it feels like he starts to respect him slightly more. But Joe and Biddy start to feel that Pip is getting stuck up and rude and begin to resent him because of it. Dickens also makes Pip go into dept because, it was a way to show Pip falling back into his old life and a way to show that even though you have the respect and money unless you know how to use it you cant be a gentleman. Also at this point Dickens starts to make Pip sick he uses this as a metaphor of Pips moral decline, by using this to get pip back to his home in the country side and to get Pip starting to realise that it was Joe and Biddy who really care about him and for him, so he realises that it was them he should have been trying to impress and be nice to and even though he wasn't they still gave him a second chance. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dickens also uses dialogue between different social classes to show class, by showing us how different classes speak in different ways, because when a working class person talks to a person from the higher class, the higher class person will enunciate and speak politely and in a well mannered tone, whereas the working class person would shorten words and not really bovver enunciating and when you have them talking to each other you notice the difference in class. The novel of 'Great Expectations' shows us that in Victorian times social class was a very important thing, which would determine what peoples lives turned out to be. In Victorian times if someone where to read this novel, considering it would mainly be high class people who would have read the book, they would have reacted in a negative way, due to the fact that this would have been pointing out the flaws in there way of living and in there social system, which they would have agreed with because ,there were on top of it. But if someone were to read it today it wouldn't affect them because, although stuff like that still happens, it doesn't happen to that degree anymore, also it doesn't affect us as much nowadays. So it doesn't hold as much relevance to us today as it would have been in Victorian times. ...read more.

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