Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

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Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

“Great Expectations” is a Bildungsroman. A Bildungsroman is usually

the story of a single individual’s growth and development within the

context of a defined social order. “Great Expectations” is recognized

as a Bildungsroman since it has elements of autobiography. This is

established in the text as it is old Pip looking back at his life and

self development this is given away when the word ‘I’ is used. A

Bildungsroman should contain education Charles Dickens has shown this

through out the text. As Pip gets older his understanding of Victorian

life becomes clearer to him. Ancestry is emphasised in the beginning

of the novel when Pip talks about his family’s history. The social

conditions in “Great Expectations” is revealed through Charles Dickens

use of language. Pip is an orphan and is in a blacksmith family

In Chapter 1 we are introduced to the narrator as a child the effect

of this is an older reader gives an insight into his behaviour. The

first chapter of “Great Expectations” we learn many things about Pip.

At the beginning of the chapter Pip describes himself, Pip is shown to

be isolated because he seems to have made up his own name which shows

that he has not been cared about “My father’s family name being

Pirrip, and my Christian name being Philip, 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”. Pip describes his

farther and mother by looking at the shapes on their tombstones. This

gives the audience a sense of Pip’s intelligence and imagination

meaning he did not relay on anyone to help him get through life. The

quote “ours is the marsh country” Shows that the place t...

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...ectations reflect the real life in Victorian society. Charles

Dickens shows his beliefs in the main character Pip. Pip’s conditions

are the same as typical Victorian people he is forced to live in land

that no one wants. Pip is very respectful towards the convict even

though he has disrespected him by turning him upside down. This is

trying to say that convicts should be respected the same as everyone


In conclusion Dickens establishes the identity of Pip immediately and

gains the readers sympathy for him by describing the surroundings and

the struggle that he has to get through. Charles Dickens uses language

devices to skilfully get his point across. Through Great Expectations

we can see Dickens own ideas and the society he lived in. Through the

use of devices such as setting, other characters and Pip’s thoughts

Dickens establishes Pip’s feelings.

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