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There are many ways in which Great Expectations resembles a fairy
tale, such as the themes- poor people receiving riches, the moral
reasons, - do good unto others and you shall be repaid. During
Victorian times stories were used mainly for morals purposes.
One of the main reasons why resembles a fairy tale is due to its
Great Expectations has many characters that reflect the
characteristics of those in fairy tales.
Some of these fairy tale characteristics are found in Miss Havisham.
In chapter eight, when Miss Havisham first appears, she seems to take
on the aspect of a fairy godmother, but yet, she still seems to come
across as a distorted figure.
In chapter eleven, Pip tells how she placed her hand upon his
“…She looked like the witch of the place.” This shows Miss Havisham to
be the wicked witch of the story.
Chapter fifteen, in this chapter of the book we learn about the
‘morose journeyman’ and the sort of tales he told Pip.
“…the devil lived in a black corner of the forge, and that he knew
the fiend very well: also that it was necessary to make up the fire,
once in seven years, with a live boy, and that I might consider myself
The horror stories Pip was told throughout his childhood are threaded
into the texture of the novel through various images, and at this
point in the book, Miss Havisham represents the witch, but she is also
fulfilling the role of the fairy Godmother.
Another witchlike character in the book is Mrs. Joe.
Estella is another character ‘type’ that you would find in a fairy
She comes across as the princess of the story.
When we first meet Estella she comes across as mean, and cold hearted
which is due to being brought up by Miss Havisham. As we get further
into the story we begin too fell sorry for Estella, as she has lived
all her life with a ‘witch’. She now seems to be the doomed princess;
however, in chapter 29, it seems as if Estella will no lunge be the
”… in short, do all the shining deeds of the young Knight of romance,
and marry the princess.”
This chapter shows that Pip believes he can rescue Estella from Miss
Havisham and live a happy life with her.
Orlick and Magwitch represent the ogre type character that you would
find in a fairy tale.
In chapter fifteen we learn how Pip feels that Orlick dislikes him fro
some unknown reason. “…Drew out a red-hot bar, made at me with it as
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In Great Expectations, Joe comes across as the loyal, servant type
character that will always be faithful.
In chapter thirteen, Joe invents a tale to put Mrs.Joe in a good mood,
and he is also and he does not want her to fell left out.
Joe is the type of character that will put others before himself as he
is always aiming to please.
Great Expectations contains many fairytale like themes, such as Pip
receiving riches when he reaches a certain age.
Pip believes that Miss Havisham has given his riches to him, however
later on in his life he realises that they actually came from
Magwitch, the escaped convict that he helped.
The themes in this part of the book are the thought of a poor
boy/person becoming rich and that helping others or the less fortunate
you will be repaid in the future when you least expect it. Another
theme in this part of the book could be the thought of there being
lots of surprises and coincidences.
Pip falling in love with Estella is also another theme in Great
This gives the impression that Pip has fallen in love with someone
above and someone that it’s almost impossible for him to get with.
Miss Havisham purposely makes Pip fall in love with Estella so that
she can break his heart and make him feel worthless
The first impressions of Wemick and Jaggers are also a theme in Great
They are both made out to be mean, hard hearted people, but as we read
more into the book, we soon learn that they are ordinary human beings
and that they do take into consideration the thoughts of others.
The theme in this part of the book is the idea that looks can be
deceiving and you shouldn’t always judge from first impressions.
Great Expectations is narrated by Pip himself as an adult looking back
The book takes us through all the stages of Pip’s life, and maybe
Dickens naming him Pip was supposed to be ironic, because a pip is
something that grows over time and turns into something beautiful, and
we get to see Pip growing and flourishing.
We are told of his everyday encounters and so by the time he has grown
up, it’s almost as if you have become attached to him.
At the beginning of the book, Pip seems to spend a lot of time
daydreaming and reminiscing, and it’s almost as if he was wishing he
could travel back in time and change things.
Over time, we see how Pip’s expectations change. In the beginning, Pip
has no expectations of life, as he wishes to do is work alongside Joe
Never the less, this all changed when he met Miss Havisham. Pip
believed that he would marry Estella and become heir to Miss
Havisham’s money. Although, at this point in the book, Pip did not
marry Estella, he still believed that he had received her riches and
it was not until he had moved and settled into the city that he learnt
his riches came from Magwitch.
Throughout the book, we see Pip move from the sinister country his
hometown where he had lived most his life, to the city, a dangerous
rough and ready hard place to live in.
Great Expectations shows that not all stories have a need to have a
happy ending to make it a good book.
Although Pip doesn’t obtain what he really wanted he gains wisdom
through his suffering.
In the Charles Dickens book of Great Expectations, Pip and Estella do
not get together and they both go their separate ways, however
Dickens’s friend Wilkie Collins thought that Great Expectations should
have a happy ending and so he helped him to write a new version of the
ending in which Pip and Estella get together.
Pip and Estella also get together in the 1948 film version of Great
The ways in which I think Great Expectations resembles are fairy tale
are due to, the moral, themes, characteristics and names of the
characters, such as Jaggers, - hard sounding name, which fits in with
Conversely, there are ways in which it doesn’t resemble a fairy tale,
for instance the length and structure of the novel and it has been
written in a more sophisticated manner than a fairy tale would be.