Dickens writes the novel in the third person which makes the reader picture what is occurring vividly, and this relates to events that Dickens experienced in his own childhood. Also he described the setting of the graveyard as a terrifying place, evoking the reader to have a real sense of tension. We are automatically compelled to feel a sense of pity for Pip, and the emotional dramatisation of the opening scene sees Pip as a vulnerable, lonely and helpless character. In Dickens writings he uses poetic devices, especially triplets.
An example of triplets in the first chapter is during the opening scene where Pip is confronted by Magwitch. “Tell us your name! said the man” “Once more, said the man” “Show us where you live, said the man” Said the man is repeated three times and it disconnects Magwitch from any emotional connection to the reader, Dickens also does not attach any emotion to Magwitch’s voice. Throughout the book the settings reflects Pips moods and hope, such places as the Graveyard, the Blacksmiths and the Satis House represent Pips experiences of suffering, mental and physical abuse and distress at the bereavement due to his mothers death.
Pips sister embodies the rough and uncultured surrounding Pip grows up around, this is later amplified by Pips experiences at the Satis House with Estella. Estella rejects Pip because of his lowly status in society.
Pip begins to realise the dull residence of Rochester, is not enough to satisfy his urge to acquire a further knowledge and wisdom, in order to catapult him into a higher status in society. Great Expectations is set in early Victorian England, this was a time of great social change.
The prior Industrial Revolution had transformed the social climate, enabling capitalists and manufactures to become wealthy creating an even more distinct class society. Although social class was not as influenced by a person’s ancestry, the division between the rich and poor remained very wide. The bustling city of London was in great contrast to rural England which was sparsely populated. Lots of people migrated from the country to the city in search of greater wealth.
Throughout England the manners of the upper-class were very uptight and pompous; gentlemen and ladies were expected to have good education and to behave appropriately in public. This behaviour was prominent into Dickens novel of Great Expectation. Pip suddenly rose from being a country labourer to a gentleman; he moved from one social extreme to the other, he had to deal with the strict rules and expectations that governed Victorian England. The moral theme of Great Expectations is simple, affection, loyalty and conscience is more important than social advancement, wealth and class.
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