Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

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Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

One of Dickens’ most popular novels ‘Great Expectations’ is a griping

search for identity- the narrator’s self-identity Pip has been born

into a difficult world in the early years of the 19th Century. Philip

Pirrip is the narrator of ‘Great Expectations’. In the book he is

known as Pip. He called himself Pip because as a young child his

infant tongue could only get across to Pip. I the first few chapters

of the book he is described as a timid, sensitive and guilt-ridden

person. His parents had died earlier, probably due to poverty. Pip is

living with his sister, who intimidates him in every form. We realise

his intimidation when he arrives late from the graveyard,

“I twisted the only button on my waistcoat round and round, and looked

in great depress at the fire. Tickler was a wax-ended piece of cane,

worn smooth by collision with my tickled frame”

I see a parallel between Dickens and Pip. Dickens’s lived in an

over-crowded place when he was young. His parents had no intentions of

sending him to school. He spent his days running errands and doing

chores around the house also his younger sister died of smallpox just

like, Pip’s brothers and sisters. Dickens was very concerned with

social issues like poverty. At the time when the book was written,

there was a very high level of infant mortality, which was made worse

by deaths among poor adults, hence the number of orphans.

The first meeting with Magwitch is in the churchyard, where Pip is

lost in childish absorption grappling with his family’s fate. His

state of mind is very unstable when Pip is grabbed violently and the

convict threatened to cut his throat if he was to make noise. Pip

imagines Magwitch as a pir...

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...r. Pip felt, Estella looked down on him

because he was poor and not a gentleman. Pip was asked to play, but he

didn’t know how to ‘play’. Estella lived in a society where her class

did not have to work, and we read that Pip wanted to leave when he was

told to ‘play’ because he did not understand the word ‘play’.

In chapter 9, when Pip returns home his shame will not allow him to

tell the truth to his sister and Pumblechook so he is exaggerates. We

see that Pip is telling Joe about his real feelings about his trip to

‘Satis House’. Unlike the theft, which he kept secret, he eventually

confides to Joe because he knows Joe will keep an open mind and he is

the only one person he can speak to without being punished and having

a guilty conscience. What he is confiding to Joe is his shame as a

working-class person and how he must change in order to win Estella.
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