Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

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Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

Great Expectations is a semi-autobiographical book written in the

mid-19th century by Charles Dickens the novel follows the life of the

orphan protagonist Pip who we see change from a young child to a

maturing young adult. Through this essay I aim to show how Great

Expectations fits the genre of Bildungsroman but also how Charles

Dickens writes beyond the traditional criteria. Charles Dickens writes

about the controversial issues on class through the Bildungsroman

genre. At the beginning of the book Pip is young and innocent but as

interactions with the cold-hearted Estella occur I feel he starts to

lose himself and by the end he has become conceited and quite a spoilt


We see Pip's sense of morals change throughout the book, for example

right at the beginning we see Pip describing what he thinks his

parents looked like. We see a child like innocence in him and the

reader knows how imaginative Pip is "unreasonably derived form their

tombstones". Charles Dickens sets out the setting for us, makes us

feel sympathy towards Pip but also doesn't dwell on the tragedy of Pip

being an orphan. Charles Dickens humourises it, "I drew a childish

conclusion". As Pip steals for the convict I feel he is beginning to

change, although he still has a sense of morals because he has a

conscience "conscience is a dreadful thing when it confuses a man or

boy. From these first two chapters we see the contrast of Pip as a

very innocent child to a child maturing.

Through the first few chapters we are given an idea of how Pip lives,

as we know he is an orphan who is being "brought up by hand" by his

devil- like sister and her angelic husband Joe. Sympathy is felt for

Pip because of the lack of love he has in his life. The social class

of the family is established quite quickly when we hear that he is a

blacksmith. Pip seems quite happy with his life and his desire to be

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