Charles Dickens most famous Bildungsroman novel
How Does Dickens’ Presentation of Pip as a young boy contrast to Pip as an Adult? Great Expectations is one of Charles Dickens most famous Bildungsroman novel. This story is serialised in journals from 1860 – 1861. It was published chapter at a time therefore would leave every chapter at a cliff-hanger. Due to this novel being published in journals it made this semi-autobiographical narrative available to the mass of people; soaring its popularity. The main theme of this novel is associated with the main factors of Victorian era; Being Gentlemen; Education and Crime and Punishment.
Dickens was a social observer and would therefore base his narratives on his concerns for the social laws. Great Expectations was an example of this. This story is based on Pip, the main character, and how his life changes as he comes into possession of a lot of money from an unknown benefactor breaking the wall of social mobility on his way to become a Gentleman.
The whole essay shows the retrospective view of Pip looking back on his life.
Furthermore most of the events experience by Pip could also be his past experiences. This is why ‘Great Expectations’ is Charles Dickens most semi-autobiographical piece of writing.
This general aim of this essay is to describe the way Pip was presented as a young boy and later on in his life by this worldwide known author, Charles Dickens. The key scenes in this novel which will be analysed in detail. The chosen key scenes are; chapters 1-8 where Pip is growing up as a young kid and ahs his first encounter with the convict. The significance of these chapters is that it shows Pip’s childhood and also describes his first meeting with Magwitch, who plays a huge role in this novel.
The central point of this report will be focused on chapter 27-38. This shows Pip as a young gentleman. This is very vital as it shows the way Pip has changed from his childhood ways. In these chapters it shows when Pip is reunited with his benefactor. The Last key scenes will be chapter 57 and 58. This is when Pip is comes together with Joe hoping to propose to Biddy. The significance of this is that Joe is going to get married to Biddy; therefore Pips reaction to this news is very interesting.
Pip was bought up an orphan. The only living family member of Pip was his sister Mrs Joe Gargery. “My first fancies regarding what they were like were unreasonably derived from their tombstones” This quotation emphasis the fact that Pip was an orphan who had never seen his parents and is an example of dual narrative as it is quite humorous but also sad at the same time. At the beginning of the play Dickens makes the readers fell sympathetic towards Pip. This makes the readers like Pip throughout the story no matter what he does.
In the Victorian Era being an orphan was very common. It meant they had no prospects for the future, would be illiterate and would therefore lead a very poor life. They would usually be homeless or taken in by gentlemen’s to be their slaves. “I was at that time undersized for years and not very strong”. This quotation shows that Pip had a lack of prospects which emphasised he came from a poor background. The term undersized could be used for physical terms but also could be used that he had no say in the community as he was a child and he had no say generally as him and his family were very poor.
Charles Dickens reversed these points about a poor person and made social mobility possible for Pip. At the beginning of the narrative Pip is a naive young boy who has no knowing of the outside world. Most of this is due to being brought up without education. Education in that era was very important as only the rich could afford it. This immediately brought up the aspect of class issues in this novel. Education led to people being in a higher social group to those who weren’t educated and possibly shaped their future.
Pip suffered abuse from many people. He was bought up ‘by hand’ by his sister Mrs Joe. She had a reputation for this. This showed that Pip was brought with discipline and wouldn’t dare to do a thing wrong as he would get punished for this. Another quotation that explains that Mrs Joe beats Pip to teach him manners and discipline is “Be grateful boy to them which bought you up by hand”. “What’s worse she’s got the tickler with her”, this quotation shows how much Pip feared the tickler and getting beaten by Mrs Joe.
As well as receiving physical abuse from Mrs Joe he received verbal abuse from many family friends such as Mr Pumblechook and also Estella. It was from the Victorian times that the saying ‘Children should be seen but not heard’ was created. This saying applied to Pip. Many guttural sounds were used to describe the abuse that was inflicted upon Pip such as “rampage”. This emphasises the un-human like behaviour of Mrs Joe towards Pip.
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