Great Expectations By Charles Dickens Essay

1530 words - 6 pages

It is said that "Literature is the reflection of life". In the 19th century in Great Britain, there were many literature works showing the general picture of life and society at the moment. "Great Expectations" written by Charles Dickens did it, too and self-improvement, the outstanding characteristic of Pip is the most impressive factor which makes the novel successful.Charles Dickens, the father of the novel, was born in London in 1812. During his childhood, he suffered a hard and wretched life and experienced working in bad condition factories in order to earn for a living. Those experiences obviously led to some very famous novels of him, "Oliver Twist", "David Copperfield" and finally "Great Expectations" which mostly reflects precisely his own miserable and unhappy life. Also in most of his works do express the desire of a better life, a long for social advancements through the themes of ambition and self-improvement. "Great Expectations" is a typical one."Great Expectations" was written in the most successful time of Dickens' career. It is the story about an orphan child named Pip. He helps a convict who has escaped from a prisonship by giving foods and a file to him but the man is soon recaptured. Then, he is often invited by a wealthy woman from the neighboring town called "Miss Havisham" to Satis House, her home. At that place, Pip soon falls in love with Estella, an adopted daughter of Miss Havisham, who is reared to be cruel and distance with the male sex. When Pip reaches 14, he is told to stop the visits and begin his apprentice time with Joe, his foster father, to become a blacksmith. Four years later, Pip discovers that he has "great expectations" from a mysterious benefactor who wants him to be educated as a gentleman. Pip himself mistakenly thinks that the benefactor is Miss Havisham and she wants him to marry Estella. Therefore, Pip leaves for London to perfect himself as a gentleman. There, he becomes neglectful to his childhood's friends. When he is at the age of 23, he finally discovers that the true benefactor is not Miss Havisham but ironically turns out to be Magwitch, the convict. Moreover, Estella turns out to be the convict's daughter. At the end of the novel, Magwitch dies under sentence of death and Pip eventually has learnt the lesson of life: the importance of affection, loyalty, and sympathy over social advancement and class superiority."Great Expectations" was written in Victorian age and it does get influenced by the ideal of life at that time, particularly the ideal of the Gentlemen. Dickens' trying to be recognized as a gentleman is showed clearly through Pip and his life. Because of that desire, the theme of self-improvement in the novel is specially emphasized as a good characteristic. Self-improvement of Pip shows during his stages of expectations in life. Whenever Pip can conceive of something that is better than what he already possesses, he desires to obtain the improvement. The theme of self-improvement...

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