Great Expectations was published in 1861 when the flowering of the Victorian Age had been at its height. During this period England was afflicted by many problems emanating from the changes in feudal economy that failed to withstand the invasion of growing industries, explosion of population ,emergence of slums, unbridled exploitation and the simmering discontent. The theme involves an unhappy childhood, guilt and imprisonment, ruthlessness of law, the corrupting power of money, and above all, human loneliness.
These themes are worked out by means of contrasts and confrontations –the instinctive sense of justice versus the legal system; the outcast versus society; willed isolation against human commitment, inherited fortunes versus personal achievement.
In one sense, it would be proper to call the novel a “snob’s progress” towards self-realisation. On reading the great novel “Great Expectations” I felt too sympathetic & pity for a little boy called “pip” by Charles Dickens. He,from his early childhood had to face and undergone through many circumstances and situations which as if made him stand strong later in his days.
The opening description of the death of his brother and sister; To five little stone lozenges,each about a foot and had never taken them out in this state of existence. Gave us a vivid picture of Dickens close observation on the most vital utterance of life that is “food” and “death”. One can understand easily that it was Dickens extreme irritation that made him jot about the prior “call” of nature that was “sufferings”. According to Dickens food and human are correlated to eachother.
Food/Hunger stands as an identity that makes us work hard so that the minimum bread of ours can be earned.
It led us to the hard and harder aspects of life where while going through we come across the utter darkness that is the universal “truth and reality of mankind”. Then again the just word “hunger” teaches us to explore new ideas & makes us discover things which are buried in the oldest “urn lying beneath the earth”. The preconceived dogmas of life calls “hunger” as an object that just gave pain & screwed the deeper realism of the world’s “sob and wail”. It was Dickens who enhanced and inspired us to think on a word ‘hunger’ that is perhaps the most alarming agenda of life.
I think it was “he” who only fingered us the point of utter grief that actually provided us with relief and became universal. Dickens projected the term “hunger” as the reality of humans and psychological civilisation that generally produced an energy /stimulus to work for the betterment of oneself that equally helped the others. According to me “hunger” produced a “juice ‘that provided us with strengths and topped ourself. Yes it gave pain but it also made us complete. One got an opportunity to move on and face things as it is. The portion where we came across the lines ;
My thoughts strayed from that question as I looked disconsolately at the fire rose before me in the avenging coals. Also taught us the truth and the pain that directly came out from the expression of a little boy who has just came to this world not too early. He added the word “food” into a column that showed us that for him “food” is a material that is too hard to earn. As he is just a little one and have not come across the harsh reality of life ,don’t you think that he has unknowingly fallen into the so called “cradle” of ill desires.
Was he not being drived into the bitter beliefs? His age was too little to be termed as a “sufferer”. Last but not the least I would like to conclude that very beautifully Dickens compared the two terms “Suffer” & “Hunger” together. As one(hunger) stands for an epistemology of knowledge ,desire,lust and longing and the other( suffer) stood for the ultimate thet can never be avoided nor ignored but has to be faced,as we the “mere human beings are a framed puppet in the hands of them,”The Almighty”. Thank you.