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Great Expectations By Charles Dickens Essay

3854 words - 15 pages

Task: Discuss how Dickens establishes the identity of young Pip at the
start of the Novel. Consider: v How the Novel/ Pip’s journey is a
Bildungsroman v What Pip wants/ How he changes v How Dickens matches
setting to charater v Victorian society/ penal, Criminal system, Education
v Pip as a Narrator/ His description of his Ambitions

Great Expectations was written in 1860 by Charles Dickens, and is set
in the Early Victorian Ages. In this novel we follow, a main
protagonist, Pip, however his legal name is Phillip Pirrip, “my infant
tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than
Pip. So I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.” Dickens
effectively establishes the identity of young Pip at the start of the
novel through his use of setting and first person narration.

Great Expectations is classed as a Bildungsroman. This refers to a
novel of self-development, or a story of one person’s individual
growth through out their life, from a child to a mature adult. Like
all other stereotypical Bildungsromans, Great Expectations also has
their main protagonist’s ambition to win over the heart of a
particular beautiful young woman. In the this case, it is Pip trying
to become a gentleman, so that he could be classed as the same
standard as Estella, his goal. In a stereotypical ‘Bildungsromans’,
the main protagonist is usually an orphan, Great Expectations also
follows this tradition as the main protagonist, Pip is an orphan, and
we could infer this, as his parents are “late of this parish”. ‘Bildungsromans”
are often stories told by the main protagonist looking back on their
life and how they got to where they are now. Again, Great Expectations
follows this tradition, Pip, the main protagonist, is also the
narrator of the book, looking back on his life, how it changed, the
hardships he has faced, and the mistakes he had made along his
journey, which has brought his to where he is now.

Great Expectations is about an orphan, Pip, who lives with his older
sister and her husband, his sister neglects him. Pip is in the
graveyard wondering about his past and his identity, whilst looking at
his parents’ and brothers gravestones. A convict appears in front of
him with iron chains on his feet. He is smothered with mud and
drenched in from the rain. The convict threatens Pip, telling him that
he will have his life if Pip did not bring him some “wittles and a
file”. The convict has recently escaped from the prison ships “The
Hulks”. His sister comes home and tells Pip that he has to go to an
old posh lady’s house, Ms Havisham’s house, Satis House. Over there he
meets a young girl, whom he likes, Estella. Estella is very proud of
her and is rude towards Pip because he is from a lower class than her.
Pip sets an ambition for him self to become a gentleman and move up
the social hierarchy and into the same class as Estella. During an
apprenticeship with his brother-in-law, Joe the...

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