Charles Dickens a great English novelist who had influenced many over time. He was born into a poor family on 7th February 1812 in Portsmouth. His family had records for creating debts and by age 12 his father was sentenced for debt, with this situation Dickens had to begin work in a boot blacking factory. He had started writing novels by the age 20, and had risen to fame quickly for the great interest in his books. Out of the many novels he had written one was called “Great Expectations” which was completed and published by 1860. He had written the book with a slight resemblance of his own life as well as love life.
As the book was written during Victorian times it had pursued the nature and atmosphere of that time therefore a book in a time with great difference and a combination of different and much more effective laws. It was a world where people would have been treated differently especially children, they would have been below adults by many levels therefore treated in an unmannerly way for example they would be beaten, threatened and sworn at. “Great Expectations” follows the life of a young orphan called Pip who lives from childhood to adulthood, forming into a gentleman along the way.
At the beginning he is a defenceless and innocent boy who lives with his much older, shrewish sister Mrs Joe Gargery and his much older brother in law Mr Joe Gargery. Pip normally goes through ordinary Victorian days until he comes across the existence of an escaped convict who Pip gets scraps of food and a file for. He later travels to London and becomes a part of an old heartbroken lady’s life who he helps from time to time and he falls in love with her adopted daughter. Pip is a young orphan boy who lives with his much shrewish sister and his extremely kind brother in law.
Pip is the kind that lives typical Victorian days (obeying adults and suffering from regular beating’s usually from his sis) and lives his life to his and families expectations, even then he has satisfaction to the way he lives he lives to what he thinks is the best of him and lives to what is expected from his family mainly his sister e. g. obeying orders and following strict rules. Pip is frightened after he comes across an escaped convict who violently threatens him and demands for food and a file to free himself from the shackles which he was forced to wear.
Pip experiences working for an old lady, Miss Havisham, heartbroken and then crazed from the point she was deserted by her fianci??. By working for her he meets and instantly falls in love with Miss Havisham’s adoptive daughter, Estella, who crazes men with her form and beauty. In order to receive back the love of Estella, Pip begins a new life, one where he leaves behind his previous and decides to live one with “Great Expectations. ” In order to do this successfully he abandons his previous life and family without considering the consequences he was to fall into.
He thinks of living a gentleman’s life not exactly to top quality but at a level where he could get the approval of Miss Havisham and Estella. The audience would react surprised in this matter as laws were different and different was expected from children therefore they would be surprised at a boy who abandons his low quality life for the sake of a girl, the audience’s advice to such a character would probably be to remain in the current position. Dickens had created the novel in a very likeable and intelligent manner. He uses descriptive style writing which allows the writer to form an imagination and understanding of the scene itself.
He builds an outstanding sense and structure to the scene and stages of the plot building it up further to create tense and negative consequences in which some characters suffer from. This helps give the audience be sympathetic towards the characters for what they had suffered. In order to mainly make the readers feel sympathy for the characters, Dickens create a setting for the characters which echo in personality and certain circumstances as well as creating the sad image such as the cold and grey graveyard in Chapter 1, which holds the nature of depression so the audience will feel sympathetic for the person there.
The novel begins with Pip in a desolate graveyard mourning for the death of his parents and describes the village in which he lives in until he is seized by a man who has a iron on his leg which symbolises that he is an escaped convict, the convict violently threatens Pip if he did not follow the instructions. The opening chapter is descriptive and sucks the reader straight into a crisis and gaining the readers admiration. In this chapter there is comic which comes from Pip and violence which comes from the convict Magwitch. Dickens forms the part of violence and humour as it is very entertaining, so the reader is engaged immediately.
In this chapter the device that Dickens uses consistently is description which goes through the narrator who is Pip himself. It helps create the awareness of the atmosphere and a mental image of what everything would look like. Dickens puts a lot of descriptions in the novel through Pip, mainly on weather and nature to set the tone of Pip’s experiences. Pip describes the weather and the village he lives in “Ours was a marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea………….. that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard. ”
This quote shows the detailed description of which Dickens uses to create the tone of the oppression of the character and the emotions that there could be, due to the gloomy bad weather and desolate area. This encourages the reader to feel sympathy for Pip as it shows that he experiences constant bad days. In Chapter 8 Pip and Miss Havisham meet for a small conversation about a small situation. He enters Miss Havisham’s room and she talks of her past experiences to pip who reacts nervously, he plays card games with Estella who hates him as she has been brought up to despise men after Miss Havisham’s terrible experience.
Dickens uses on of the devices which is symbolism in this chapter, he uses it intelligently to infer information as well directly give it, it is like a small puzzle that the reader has to work out fro his descriptions as he describes things that symbolize something. Pip witnesses all bridal clothing in Miss Havishams room.. “She was dressed in rich materials-satins,and lace, and silks all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil………. some bright jewels sparkled on her neck. ”
This quote shows the symbol given to Pip that Miss Havisham likes to make herself look young at all times and could possibly fear of getting older. Overall Dickens uses the symbol as a device to help engage with the readers mind a little more. In Chapter 27, Pip receives a letter from Biddy about Joe, announcing that he intends to visit London and meet Pip with disquiet. The meeting then is very unease due to Pip’s snobbish anxiety. Pip learns that Estella returns and actually wishes to see him. Joe ends up leaving with discomfiture. The chapter attempts to show the extent in which Pip has changed his mind and attitude towards Joe.
The device that Dickens uses in this chapter is a slight amount of humour. He uses this device through the meeting which Joe and Pip have, it all seems like a general meeting and then Joe creates the sense of humour. Joe end up calling Pip “sir. ” “Joe: Us two now being alone sir. Pip: How can you call me sir? ” This quote shows the slight humour shared between Joe and Pip, as Joe had not seen Pip in a long time the meeting at first seemed like a nervous one and then out of no where Joe calls Pip sir as he believes Pip has more money and gained more power (when comparing with Joe) which shows that Joe had suddenly made a stupid gesture.
Initially it shows the huge change, Pip went through, he became more powerful which makes him a lot more confident when talking and this change in status completely changes other characters thoughts and the behaviour they have towards him, they begin to respect him a lot more. Dickens had created the novel containing a lot of effect from consequences in reality, and puts a whole load of descriptive emotions in which makes the audience feel sympathetic towards the characters and then put that small smile on the audiences face when it comes to the humour parts which makes an excellent combination of reactions!
The technique that was most powerful was writing descriptions because it helped engage with the reader’s mind and help give that full understanding as well as feeling sympathy for the characters, it all gives the imagination of the emotions of the characters which brings me to a better understanding. Overall it is important for readers to sympathise with characters because it gives the clearer understanding and makes you wonder of what the certain issues can be like, it engages and help the motions develop of the mind.