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Stuart Hall provides an analysis of cultural identities and what they stand for, their workings and underlying complexities and practices. Hall argues that cultural.

Thereafter Orlick vanishes, only to reappear in chapter 53 in a symbolic act, when he lures Pip into a locked, abandoned building in the marshes. Orlick has a score to settle before going on to the ultimate act, murder. However, Pip hampers Orlick, because of his privileged status, while Orlick remains a slave of his condition, solely responsible for Mrs Gargery's fate. Dickens also uses Pip's upper class counterpart, Bentley Drummle, "the double of a double", according to Trotter, in a similar way.

Estella rejects Pip for this rude, uncouth but well-born man, and ends Pip's hope. Finally the lives of both Orlick and Drummle end violently. Although the novel is written in first person, the reader knows—as an essential prerequisite—that Great Expectations is not an autobiography but a novel , a work of fiction with plot and characters, featuring a narrator-protagonist. However, according to Paul Pickerel's analysis, Pip—as both narrator and protagonist—recounts with hindsight the story of the young boy he was, who did not know the world beyond a narrow geographic and familial environment.

The novel's direction emerges from the confrontation between the two periods of time. At first, the novel presents a mistreated orphan, repeating situations from Oliver Twist and David Copperfield , but the trope is quickly overtaken. The theme manifests itself when Pip discovers the existence of a world beyond the marsh, the forge and the future Joe envisioned for him, the decisive moment when Miss Havisham and Estella enter his life. At this point, the reader knows more than the protagonist, creating dramatic irony that confers a superiority that the narrator shares.

It is not until Magwitch's return, a plot twist that unites loosely connected plot elements and sets them into motion, that the protagonist's point of view joins those of the narrator and the reader. Amongst the narrative devices that Dickens uses, according to Earle Davis, are caricature , comic speech mannerisms, intrigue, Gothic atmosphere, and a central character who gradually changes.

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Davis also mentions the close network of the structure and balance of contrasts, and praises the first-person narration for providing a simplicity that is appropriate for the story while avoiding melodrama. Davis sees the symbolism attached to "great expectations" as reinforcing the novel's impact. Great Expectations contains the elements of a variety of different literary genres , including the bildungsroman, gothic novel, crime novel, as well as comedy , melodrama and satire ; and it belongs—like Wuthering Heights and the novels of Walter Scott —to the romance rather than realist tradition of the novel.

Complex and multifaceted, Great Expectations is a Victorian bildungsroman , a German literary genre from the eighteenth century, also called an initiatory tale. This genre focuses on a protagonist who matures over the course of the novel. Great Expectations describes Pip's initial frustration upon leaving home, followed by a long and difficult period where he gradually matures.

This period in his life is punctuated with conflicts between his desires and the values of established order, that allow him to re-evaluate his life and therefore re-enter society on new foundations. However, if viewed as a primarily retrospective first-person narrative, the novel differs from the two preceding pseudo-autobiographies, David Copperfield and though only partially narrated in first-person, Bleak House , as it falls within several subgenres popular in Dickens' time, as noted by Paul Davis [] and Philip V.

Great Expectations contains many comic scenes and eccentric personalities, which play an integral part in both the plot and the theme. Among the notable comic episodes are Pip's Christmas dinner in chapter 4, Wopsle's Hamlet performance in chapter 31, and Wemmick's marriage in chapter Many of the characters have eccentricities: Jaggers with his punctilious lawyerly ways; the contrariness of his clerk, Wemmick, at work advising Pip to invest in "portable property", while in private living in a cottage converted into a castle; and the reclusive Miss Havisham in her decaying mansion, wearing her tattered bridal robes.

Great Expectations incorporates elements of the new genre of crime fiction , which Dickens had already used in Oliver Twist , and which was being developed by his friends Wilkie Collins and William Harrison Ainsworth. With its scenes of convicts, prison ships , and episodes of bloody violence, Dickens creates characters worthy of the Newgate school of fiction.

Great Expectations contains elements of the Gothic genre , especially with Miss Havisham, the bride frozen in time, and the ruins of Satis House filled with weeds and spiders. Then there is the fight to the death between Compeyson and Magwitch, and the fire that ends up killing Miss Havisham, scenes that are dominated by horror, suspense, and the sensational, such as are found in gothic novels. Elements of the silver fork novel are found in the character of Miss Havisham and her world, as well as Pip's illusions. This genre, which flourished in the s and s, [] presents the flashy elegance and aesthetic frivolities found in high society.

Though Great Expectations is not obviously a historical novel Dickens does emphasise differences between the time that the novel is set c.

Great Expectations begins around the date of Dickens' birth , continues until around —, and then jumps to around —, during which the Great Western Railway was built. Among these details—that contemporary readers would have recognised—are the one pound note in chapter 10 that the Bank Notes Act had removed from circulation; [] likewise, the death penalty for deported felons who returned to Britain was abolished in The gallows erected in the swamps, designed to display a rotting corpse, had disappeared by , and George III , the monarch mentioned at the beginning, died in , when Pip would have been seven or eight.

Miss Havisham paid Joe 25 guineas, gold coins, when Pip was to begin his apprenticeship in chapter 13 ; guinea coins were slowly going out of circulation after the last new ones were struck with the face of George III in This also marks the historical period, as the one pound note was the official currency at the time of the novel's publication.

Dickens placed the epilogue 11 years after Magwitch's death, which seems to be the time limit of the reported facts. Collectively, the details suggest that Dickens identified with the main character. If Pip is around 23 toward the middle of the novel and 34 at its end, he is roughly modeled after his creator who turned 34 in The title's "Expectations" refers to "a legacy to come", [] and thus immediately announces that money, or more specifically wealth plays an important part in the novel.

The novel is also concerned with questions relating to conscience and moral regeneration, as well as redemption through love. Dickens famously created comic and telling names for his characters, [ citation needed ] but in Great Expectations he goes further. The first sentence of the novel establishes that Pip's proper name is Philip Pirrip, which "my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.

In Chapter 18, when he receives his expectation from an anonymous benefactor, the first condition attached to it is "that you always bear the name of Pip. In Chapter 22, when Pip establishes his friendship with Herbert Pocket, he attempts to introduce himself as Philip. Herbert immediately rejects the name "'I don't take to Philip,' said he, smiling, 'for it sounds like a moral boy out of the spelling-book'" and decides to refer to Pip exclusively as Handel "'Would you mind Handel for a familiar name?

There's a charming piece of music by Handel, called the Harmonious Blacksmith.

Great expectations literary analysis essay

Pip's name throughout binds him to his origins. A central theme here, as in other of Dickens's novels, is of people living as social outcasts. The novel opening emphasises this in the case of the orphaned Pip, who lives in an isolated foggy environment next to a graveyard, dangerous swamps, and prison ships. His very existence reproaches him: "I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born in opposition to the dictates of reason, religion and morality". Pip feels excluded by society and this leads to his aggressive attitude towards it, as he tries to win his place within society through any means.

Various other characters behave similarly—that is, the oppressed become the oppressors. Jaggers dominates Wemmick, who in turn dominates Jaggers's clients. However, hope exists despite Pip's sense of exclusion [] because he is convinced that divine providence owes him a place in society and that marriage to Estella is his destiny. Therefore, when fortune comes his way, Pip shows no surprise, because he believes, that his value as a human being, and his inherent nobility, have been recognized.

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Thus Pip accepts Pumblechook's flattery without blinking: "That boy is no common boy" [] and the "May I? May I? From Pip's hope comes his "uncontrollable, impossible love for Estella", [] despite the humiliations to which she has subjected him. For Pip, winning a place in society also means winning Estella's heart. When the money secretly provided by Magwitch enables Pip to enter London society, two new related themes, wealth and gentility, are introduced. As the novel's title implies money is a theme of Great Expectations.


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Central to this is the idea that wealth is only acceptable to the ruling class if it comes from the labour of others. Her wealth is "pure", and her father's profession as a brewer does not contaminate it. Herbert states in chapter 22 that "while you cannot possibly be genteel and bake, you may be as genteel as never was and brew.

She remains in a constant business relationship with her lawyer Jaggers and keeps a tight grip over her "court" of sycophants, so that, far from representing social exclusion, she is the very image of a powerful landed aristocracy that is frozen in the past and "embalmed in its own pride". On the other hand, Magwitch's wealth is socially unacceptable, firstly because he earned it, not through the efforts of others, but through his own hard work, and secondly because he was a convict, and he earned it in a penal colony.

It is argued that the contrast with Miss Havisham's wealth is suggested symbolically. Thus Magwitch's money smells of sweat, and his money is greasy and crumpled: "two fat sweltering one-pound notes that seemed to have been on terms of the warmest intimacy with all the cattle market in the country", [] while the coins Miss Havisham gives for Pip's "indentures" shine as if new. Further, it is argued Pip demonstrates his "good breeding", because when he discovers that he owes his transformation into a "gentleman" to such a contaminated windfall, he is repulsed in horror.

Cockshut, however, has suggested that there is no difference between Magwitch's wealth and that of Miss Havisham's. Trotter emphasizes the importance of Magwitch's greasy banknotes. Beyond the Pip's emotional reaction the notes reveal that Dickens' views on social and economic progress have changed in the years prior to the publication of Great Expectations.

To illustrate his point, he cites Humphry House who, succinctly, writes that in Pickwick Papers , "a bad smell was a bad smell", whereas in Our Mutual Friend and Great Expectations , "it is a problem". At the time of The Great Exhibition of , Dickens and Richard Henry Horne an editor of Household Words wrote an article comparing the British technology that created The Crystal Palace to the few artifacts exhibited by China: England represented an openness to worldwide trade and China isolationism.

According to Trotter, this was a way to target the Tory government's return to protectionism , which they felt would make England the China of Europe.

Great Expectations Novel/Film comparison

In fact, Household Words' 17 May issue, championed international free trade , comparing the constant flow of money to the circulation of the blood. With Great Expectations , Dickens's views about wealth have changed. However, though some sharp satire exists, no character in the novel has the role of the moralist that condemn Pip and his society. In fact, even Joe and Biddy themselves, paragons of good sense, are complicit, through their exaggerated innate humility, in Pip's social deviancy.

Dickens' moral judgement is first made through the way that he contrasts characters: only a few characters keep to the straight and narrow path; Joe, whose values remain unchanged; Matthew Pocket whose pride renders him, to his family's astonishment, unable to flatter his rich relatives; Jaggers, who keeps a cool head and has no illusions about his clients; Biddy, who overcomes her shyness to, from time to time, bring order.

The narrator-hero is left to draw the necessary conclusions: in the end, Pip finds the light and embarks on a path of moral regeneration. In London, neither wealth nor gentility brings happiness. Pip, the apprentice gentleman constantly bemoans his anxiety, his feelings of insecurity, [] and multiple allusions to overwhelming chronic unease, to weariness, drown his enthusiasm chapter His unusual path to gentility has the opposite effect to what he expected: infinite opportunities become available, certainly, but will power, in proportion, fades and paralyses the soul.

The Form of Great Expectations

In the crowded metropolis, Pip grows disenchanted, disillusioned, and lonely. Alienated from his native Kent, he has lost the support provided by the village blacksmith. In London, he is powerless to join a community, not the Pocket family, much less Jaggers's circle. London has become Pip's prison and, like the convicts of his youth, he is bound in chains: "no Satis House can be built merely with money".