Essay PreviewMore ↓
The average Victorian serial novel spoke about the sort of lifestyle nineteenth-century readers wanted for themselves. Charles Dickens was a talented novelist known for skills in serial writing. It was he who made the serial popular again after its near death from the crisis of the English tax. A serial is an ongoing story told over time in monthly or weekly installments. Great Expectations, in serial form, is a novel that was printed in weekly installments in Dickens's magazine, All Year Round. In its analysis it has proven to live up to true serial form.
In the serial form of Great Expectations there are two chapters in every weekly installment and seven chapters in each monthly installment. The entire novel consists of nine monthly and thirty-six weekly installments. In most serials there is more than one plot line in each installment. In Great Expectations this holds true. In both the weekly and monthly installments the plot lines seem to shift from chapter to chapter. So, although there is only one plot line per chapter, there are multiple plot lines in every installment. The nineteenth-century serial was meant to be a continuing story with each and every installment, in the sense that the interruptions do not seem like drastic cutoffs from the story. Each installment seems to end one part of the story nicely while still keeping the reader guessing and waiting for the next installment to pick up where the last one left off. The pick-ups of installments are individual beginnings that follow the plot line of the previous installment. A pattern that seems to follow with each installment is that the ending of an installment closes a chapter, while the pick-up of a new installment begins a new chapter. A second pattern is that each installment does not include a complete plot line, such as beginning-climax-ending. The complete plot line seems to expand over the course of the entire novel.
Publishing played a major role with the serial novel. The popularization of the serial came about when the English tax was proposed. Newspapers and magazines used bigger sheets of paper to avoid the tax and used serials to fill up this extra space. Many serials of the nineteenth-century were not published alone but in newspapers and magazines. Included with them were advertisements and illustrations. In serial form Great Expectations included illustrations within the novel.
How to Cite this Page
"Great Expectations as a Victorian Serial Novel." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Jul 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Great Expectations was a novel written by Charles Dickens. It was first published in serial form from 1st December 1860 and then further on was released in book form in August 1861, although was previously issued by David Copperfield in 1849. This novel reworks his own childhood as a first-person narrative; Dickens was fortunate and had an advantage of writing Great Expectations due to him living in the Victorian times, and he related his life experiences with the main character of the play, ‘Pip’.... [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
600 words (1.7 pages)
- Book review of Great Expectations ================================= Great Expectations is a tale of a young man raised high above his position in society by a mysterious person. Despite the book lacking in length, it more than makes up for in its remarkable characters and gripping story. It was published serially in 1860 and issued in book form in 1861. The third person mixed with first person narrative takes Pip (Philip Pirrip) through a journey he would never forget. He was brought up “by hand”, in the marshes of Kent by his disagreeable Sister and the sweet-natured Joe Gargery and always wanted to grow to be a wealthy gentleman.... [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
863 words (2.5 pages)
- Fiction performs a number of functions, and among these are helping us to understand the world, and helping us to understand the human condition. What is taken from a work of fiction is, however, dependant on who is reading it at the time. In the case of Great Expectations there are a number of themes running through the text including betterment through education, what it is to be a gentleman, respectability and crime, parental /family ties, and industry and idleness. Many of the original readers of the work were not concerned with analysing these various themes, and how Dickens put the work together.... [tags: Themes, Motifs & Symbols]
2378 words (6.8 pages)
- Great Expectations was a novel written by Charles Dickens in 1860. Dickens was born on February 7th 1812, in Hampshire. Charles was working for long hours in extremely bad conditions at the age of 12, experiences like have a huge influence on the way he writes his novels because they’re mostly about how the poor lived during Victorian Britain. Great expectations was set in Victorian Britain in the early nineteenth century, where women were seen more as objects or property than a human, where people where divided into social classes, e.g.... [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
1941 words (5.5 pages)
- The Victorian Period of British History is primarily known as the period of Queen Victoria's reign, which spanned from 1837 to 1901. During the Victorian Period, Britain was under a long period of peace, prosperity, and the nation had great self-confidence. England was under great prosperity with great population increase during this period, in addition, England had also achieved great expectations in architecture. Many great structures were designed and constructed during the Victorian Period, with the architecture movement of Gothic Revival architecture.... [tags: Queen Victoria reign, Charles Dickens]
677 words (1.9 pages)
- Comparing the Victorian Times of Great Expectations with Today There are many things about the Victorian Age that are different from our way of life today. Evidence of this can be found in such elements of the 1800's as courting manners, child- rearing, transportation, housing and careers. The novel and film Great Expectations give many examples of the contrast of the present and the past. Victorians were a very class-conscious society. These days, just about anyone can manage to have fairly nice clothes, a decent car, a place to live, and reasonable job security.... [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
650 words (1.9 pages)
- Great Expectations Explore some of the ways in which Dickens’ attitudes to Victorian society are presented in the opening chapter of Great Expectations. For this essay I will be focusing on the opening chapters of Great Expectations, a novel written by Charles Dickens. I am going to consider the Victorian society at the time and dickens’ use of language to express themes, settings and characters. Charles Dickens wrote this story in the Victorian times. Hence we seem to think what ‘does he mean’ by “Great Expectations”.... [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
1142 words (3.3 pages)
- Pip's Excpectations in Jane Austen's Great Expectations In the novel 'Great Expectations', the central character Pip has many expectations thrust upon him by others, as well as himself, from a very early age. What do we discover about these expectations and the characters who 'demand' great things of Pip and does he live up to the expectations of himself and others. In the novel 'Great Expectations', many characters have expectations in Pip.... [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
768 words (2.2 pages)
- Charles Dickens' Great Expectations Introduction Charles Dickens, ' Great Expectations' , portreys the main character Pip's childhood in various ways. 'Great Expectations' is a pre 20th century novel, showing how Pip's working class upbringing affects his childhood. Pip's Childhood Pip is an orphan, who lives with his sister Mrs. Joe Gargery and her husband Joe. We are led to believe that Pip's parents die when he is young and although he is too young to remember them he still feels he has some memories of them "unreasonably derived from their tombstones" showing that Pip never had the chance to see them.... [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
792 words (2.3 pages)
- Should Great Expectations be considered a part of the canon of great literature based on its portal of social class issues in Victorian England. This is a question that has been pondered by many, but has a justifiable answer. This book should not be considered a part of the canon of great literature for several reasons, such as the rise in social class, marriage between classes, and the depiction of women. One reasoning as to why Great Expectations should not be considered a part of the canon of great literature is the constant rise of social class.... [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
619 words (1.8 pages)
Serials in the nineteenth-century mirrored the life of the middle class and gave them greater hopes for better things. During this time Great Expectations tried to stress the betterment of life that Victorian readers were striving for. From the beginning Pip has an ambition to be educated: "'I say, Pip, old chap!' cried Joe, 'what a scholar you are!' 'I should like to be' said Pip" (60; ch. 7). Education being important during Victorian times, Pip was stressing what people wanted. Gaining a sense of where Pip lived was as important as who Pip really was to the readers of the nineteenth century. They talked about and lived through the characters of the serial novels. The point of the serial was to entertain but also for people to get caught up and involved in the characters' lives. In order for readers to be involved there had to be plenty of descriptions of the characters and the places around them. In Great Expectations the descriptions kept the readers involved and talking. For instance, at the very beginning Pip tells us about his name and his family name: "My father's family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip . . . I called myself Pip" (23; ch.1). Pip also describes for the reader the surroundings of his home: "Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea" (24; ch.1).
What made the readers even more involved and gave them more to talk about were the thoughts inside the characters' heads. Pip makes the reader feel for him and he makes the reader become a part of who he really is by letting them in his head, especially when he is leaving his sister and Joe for the first time:
I had never parted from him before, and what with my feelings and what with soapsuds, I could at first see no stars from the chaise-cart. But they twinkled out one by one, without throwing any light on the questions why on earth I was going to play at Miss Havisham's, and what on earth I was expected to play at. (67; ch.7)
From the very beginning we learn about Pip and follow his life developments and changes. From this we learn that Pip is a confused young boy, as he is at the beginning, but at the end Pip is a man who has learned about wealth, love, death, and true friendship: "We are friends," he tells Estella as they drift apart once again (439; ch.59). The type of growth that Pip made makes him a complete person, the type of person Victorian serial readers wanted to be.
As Great Expectations is a follow through of Pip's life, the content seems rather serious in nature. However, there are also some light comical scenes displayed to bring out the sense of humor in readers. Victorian serial readers did not read serials to become depressed; they wanted a lighter side to the life they were living. An example in Great Expectations is the performance of Hamlet, for despite its reference to Shakespeare, Mr. Wopsle's performance is anything but serious. Mr. Wopsle "appeared with his stocking disordered," and "he had tumbled the king off the kitchen table" all with "musical madness." So much had happened that even Pip thought "the whole thing was droll" (241-42; ch. 31).
Most serial critics thought the most important part of the serial was for the story to escalate from single character and plot line to multiple characters and plot lines, and Great Expectations did just this. We see not only the development of Pip and the way that he improved his self worth and lifestyle, but also we see the changes and the development of the people around him. From beginning to end it is easy for the reader to see Pip grow up and see what exactly he went through to get there.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Ed. Janice Carlisle. Boston: Bedford, 1996.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Ed. Edgar Rosenberg. New York: Norton, 1999.