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Great Expectations Essay

1036 words - 4 pages

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens tells the story of a young orphan called Pip growing up in Smithfield, London around the year 1666. After meeting and falling in love with Estella, a girl high above his social class –the Princess in our fairy tale, - our hero embarks in a quest to better himself. Through out the novel Pip struggles to become something he is not while he betrays his true self. With amazing dedication and help from his benefactor, Pip succeeds in conquering –like a true knight in shining armor- a world far from his poor beginnings. Dickens uses fairy tale conventions in the novel Great Expectations in respect to developing plot, characters, and settings.In the process of creating the plot of the story, Dickens made unbelievable coincidences which would hardly ever happen in real life. For example, Pip meeting an escaped convict who gets inspired by him and goes on to become wealthy and in turn Pip’s secret benefactor. The meeting of the young hero and the convict is also reminiscent of fairy tales, scary and surprising, as Pip describes him “A fearful man, all in course gray, with a great iron on his leg… and with an old rag tied around his head.” (Chapter 1, page 2), the convict urged Pip threateningly to bring him several things, “’You get me a file’…you get me wittles…‘Or I’ll have your heart and liver out.’”. Another instance of fairy tale convention is the incredible coincidence that happens when Pip goes to the Three Jolly Bargemen with Joe, and encounters a stranger who seems to be very interested in him and Pip knows he is connected to the convict when he sees him stirring his drink with Joe’s file. The stranger is very interested in secretly letting Pip know about this, “He did this so that nobody but I saw the file; and when he had done it he wiped the file and put it in his breast pocket.” (Chapter 10, page 81). Discovering the identity of Estella’s biological mother is another exaggerated coincidence Charles Dickens borrows from fairy tale conventions, she is Jaggers housekeeper, and the moment pip lays eyes on her, he is certain that Molly is Estella’s real mother, “her hands were Estella’s hands, and her eyes were Estella’s eyes, and if she had reappeared a hundred times I could have been neither more sure nor less sure that my conviction was the truth.” (Chapter 48, page 415). From the beginning of the novel, people are introduced as larger-than-life characters of a fairy tale.Pip’s venture into a world that was not his, was not originally of his choosing but rather the adults around him. The “play date” arranged for him at Miss Havisham’s house is the event that leads to the meeting of Estella, and Pip falling in love with such a queen, as he describes her on chapter 8. Estella quickly becomes Pip’s reason not only for wanting to become a gentleman but also to be ashamed...

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