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eight of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
In your essay explore plot, characters, setting, themes, language and
The texts I have studied, going to discuss and compare are 'The
Darkness Out There' by Penelope Lively and 'Great Expectations' by
Charles Dickens. These texts were written in different periods of
time, therefore they have differences in their outlook on life. For
e.g. Great Expectations was written in the pre-20th century and
includes major variations about his way of life, however The Darkness
Out There was written in the 1970's and contains a younger more up to
date example of text.
'The Darkness Out There' is a story of two teenage children who help
out the elderly; their names are Kerry (the boy) and Sandra (the
girl). These two children are about to discover during their visit how
looks and stereotypical behaviour can be deceiving, towards the end of
this story Sandra starts to realize how blind she has been up to now
in her life and feels a possible need for a change of character.
Chapter Eight of 'Great Expectations' is part of a tale of Pip's
journey in life, at this point in the story he is going to meet Mrs.
Havisham. She is a wealthy old woman who helps and takes on children,
turning them into fine gentlemen and ladies, this visit to the old
woman turns out to have a deeper incentive than it might seem. Mrs.
Havisham seems to have sinister motives and strange fantasies of how
she wants to define Estella. Different characters and settings make
this an entrancing story. k work info
In both of the texts the children visit an elderly lady, in 'The
Darkness Out There' Kerry and Sandra are helpers for the local old
people neighborhood service. On this day they both go to help an old
Mrs. Rutter with her chores, however they do not bargain on what they
are about to hear. In 'Great Expectations' Pip is going on a visit to
Mrs. Havisham's manor house, unlike the other text his visit is about
his future and how he will be brought up.
Even though the children are going to visit the old women, the
characters in the story are all afraid of different things. In 'The
Darkness Out There' Sandra is afraid of the woods known as Packer's
End, she is scared of it because of the secrets and stories it
contains for example in the text, it says that 'She wouldn't go in
there for a thousand pounds' and 'You didn't know who was around in
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he is going to be visiting, the texts both show that the characters
are scared of the darkness or unknown in both of the stories. Pip
shows his feelings when he said 'The first thing I noticed was, that
the passages were all dark'.
When Kerry and Sandra go to the house, they expect to meet a simple
yet stereotypical old lady who needs some help around the house.
However, the person they come to meet may seem this way but shows a
different side to her they did not expect. Nearer the end of the
story, Mrs. Rutter begins to tell them her story during the war, she
spoke of the enemy (Germans) as 'Bang goes some more of the bastards'
and Kerry and Sandra thought of her as she was evil, mean and cruel.
While Pip is in the manor house he begins to think that Mrs. Havisham
is not what she seems, she looks as though she is hooked on the past
and cannot let go of what she thinks is her course in life. When she
said this 'Look at me! You are not afraid of a woman who has not seen
daylight from before you were born' Pip starts to think that something
is wrong, Mrs. Havisham is still attached to her wedding were her
husband left her on the altar.
In 'The Darkness Out There' the two children - Kerry and Sandra both
come from different backgrounds, Sandra however comes from a slightly
better family. Due to this fact, Sandra seems to act a bit more
snobbish towards Kerry even though this is not his fault she thinks
this as she saw him 'Kerry Stevens from Richmond Way'. In 'Great
Expectations' Estella lives with Mrs. Havisham as her child to bring
up, this makes her act like Pip is common muck and is not worthy to be
In her company. Estella demoralizes him as she says 'Don't be
ridiculous, boy; I am not going in.' and then scornfully walked away.
In both of the texts the male visitors are not exactly favored, Kerry
in 'The Darkness Out There' was not liked by Sandra or Mrs. Rutter.
Sandra said to him 'I didn't know you where in the good neighbors!',
this insults him as it perceives him to be a worse character than he
is. Nevertheless Sandra shows a dislike to him, nevertheless he still
wishes to gain her affections.
Mrs. Rutter doesn't rate Kerry as a person, she shows this by saying
'It's a shame they put that stuff on their hair', she also acts
ignorant to him when she offers the biscuits 'Take them out and see if
what's-s'name would like one?'. info
In 'Great Expectations' Pip goes to the Manor, he like Kerry to Sandra
is not favored in Estella's eyes. She spoke of him as 'boy' in the
text - 'Though she called me boy so often, and with a carelessness
that was far from complimentary, she was about my own age'.
In both of the texts the characters learn facts which to them now are
life changing, these facts will change the way they feel about the
other characters or more about themselves. In 'The Darkness Out There'
Kerry and Sandra find out a hidden story lingering in Mrs. Rutter's
past, during the war a German plane had crash-landed in a close-by
field. Mrs. Rutter then with her sister inspected the site and noticed
one of the men still alive, however this fact held no guilt against
her and she left him there to die. She told the children ' tit for
tat' and 'he must have been a tough bastard' this shows that she is
vengeful and even though she left that man to die she held some
respect for him. This to the children and the way Kerry reacts to the
story shows Sandra how ignorant she has been, it described as a new
person 'She walked behind him, through a world grown unreliable, in
which flowers sparkle and birds sing but everything is not as it
appears, oh no.' In 'Great Expectations' Pip while in the room with
Estella playing cards begins to notice how different he is towards her
and how her looks in her eyes, she talked of him as 'He calls the
knaves Jacks , this boy. And what coarse hands he has! And what thick
boots!', Pip realizes that he is just a common laboring-boy and
generally that he was in a low-lived bad way.
Pip and Kerry are just normal hard-working young adults, they are the
targets of Sandra and Estella who they whatsoever like to a certain
extent. This however is the opposite effect they wish to receive from
Sandra and Estella, they cover their feelings to remain as normal as
possible in the girl's eyes - 'I did a job on your dad's car last
week, that blue escorts his isn't it?'. They continue to sound and
feel alike yet defiantly have differences, Pip works for his Aunt's
husband at his Blacksmith's workshop. Kerry has the goal in life to
succeed in mechanics working in the Blue Star Garage.
Estella and Sandra are just two ordinary girls who either live with or
help old ladies, the girls do not like Pip and Kerry and tend to use
worse methods than greetings towards them - 'Didn't know you where in
the good neighbors!'. The two girls both have a snobbish outlook
towards in their mind lesser people. Even though the two girls may be
similar some differences separate them, Sandra mostly listens to her
mother's point of view and that opinion hardly ever changes. Also she
loves to hear praise or flattery about herself, this confirms to me
that she is quite vain 'she looked at her own neat feet'. Estella is
like Mrs. Havisham's servant girl, she lives a rich life with the
affluent old lady of the house.
The setting in both texts close to the beginning remains diverse from
each other, in 'Great Expectations' the setting is cold and dark
within the grounds of the manor. However, in 'The Darkness Out There'
much of the setting is described as human squalor or dilapidated bits
of rubbish spread across the open fields. It also talks of how quiet
both of the scenes are near the start and end of each text.
The setting of 'Great Expectations' is forbidding and depressing to
see as if you are not welcome it says 'of old brick, and dismal, and
had a great many iron bars to it' and as well as this the house has
clearly been neglected 'some of the windows had been walled up; of
those that remained, all the lower were rustily barred', also the
setting seemed to have an unnatural ambiance - 'a shrill noise in
howling in and out at the open sides of the brewery, like the noise of
wind in the rigging of a ship at sea.
The setting of 'The Darkness Out There' does not contain the darkness
of 'Great Expectations' but includes some examples of human immorality
Some of the natural images that inhabit the story are of 'cindery
paths down the garden' and Sandra playing with a blue flower 'she
would pick up a blue flower and examine it's complexity of colour'.
The other descriptions of settings that the text contains includes the
rubbish of others dumped 'a dumped mattress and a bedstead', as well
as this the house was thought of as 'the clotted shifting depths of
the place' and 'the cupboard, stacked with yellowish newspapers, smelt
of damp and mouse'.
In the separate texts themes control the manner of which the
characters seem to act and learn from their experiences, they show how
stories and learning can be linked to bring together a strange plot.
In both extracts the characters go on journeys of self-discovery
finding out the true feelings and emotions behind the other people,
Sandra's eyes are opened to the real Kerry - 'You could get people all
wrong, she realized with an alarm'. She also now sees Mrs. Rutter now
for who she really is - an evil, old woman.
Another way the stories inter-twine with the themes is the matter of
judging on appearances and not treating people equally, Estella shows
this side of her to Pip as she says 'why, he is a common laboring
boy!'. Sandra also shows this when she thought to herself 'Kerry
Stevens from Richmond Way'.
A further theme which the stories share is the fact that people can be
dangerous and cruel. Mrs. Rutter shows this as she said 'Tit for tat'
about the dying soldier. Estella shows this side of her when Pip
thinks of himself differently 'I had never thought of being ashamed of
my hands before; but I began to consider them an indifferent pair'.
The structure and language of the texts are set in different eras.
'Great Expectations' is set in the pre-20th century, the language it
uses is very different to how we would use it today. Nowadays we tend
to use shorter more efficient sentences to improve their effect when
reading out loud, however this text uses longer sentences yet still
provides the same type of structure a newer story would. The structure
of this text is set with a guideline, it has an opening which takes
Pip to his interview, a middle where Pip is talking to Mrs. Havisham
and an end where he leaves the manor to go to his Aunt's home.
'The Darkness Out There' is set after the Second World War. It was
written during the 1970's. The language it uses is based around the
writers today and their styles of short snappy sentences, it uses
these to keep the reader reading and not to persist for too long. The
structure of the story is like 'Great Expectations' but has two
differences, instead of a middle it has the visit itself and instead
of an end it has a part where the two children have learnt some new
interesting yet disturbing facts.
To conclude even though the stories are different and are set in
separate eras the story's themes show that they are linked with
similar types of messages and structural similarities. The characters
are connected with the way they treat each other and go about their
tasks, also the language links together by the way the stories are
written and how the writers talk about the character's journey. sayhat
whilst this represents a progression, in the end we have come no
closer to any "real" knowledge.