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Charles dickens was a very famous author of the Victorian times who lived from 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870, exploiting many different problems of the tome in to his own stories. ‘Great expectations’ is about a poor orphan boy named Pip who is raised by his sister and her black smith husband who he becomes good friends with. As the book advances he turns from rags to riches with the help of Abel Magwitch; an escaped convict that Pip saves, in the beginning of the novel, from starvation. As Pip progresses into the upper class he becomes less and less humble and more ignorant and looks down upon the poor. Dickens intention for this might be to show that wealth and power are not the source of happiness or to make you a better person.

At the beginning of the novel Pip is sitting by the graves stones of his family looking very depressed no just because his family are dead but also because the way he has to live. In the time Great Expectations was written (Victorian times) life was a constant challenge for every orphan in England as many of them had to resort to begging, child labouring and stealing just to keep themselves alive for the short period of time many orphans lived. The Depressing evening reflects Pip’s mood which is made especially worse by the appearance of the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, who seemed to just risen from the grave shouting “keep still devil or ill cut your throat”. Pip is terrified to hell of this man standing before him threatening to kill him and Pip having no trouble believing every word Magwitch says.

As the confrontation between Magwitch and Pip draws to it’s end, pip is tilted back against a tombstone- “after each question, he tilted me back more and more, as to give me a greater sense of helplessness and danger” dickens intension when he wrote this was to show us how powerless Pip is against Magwitch and how much control he has Over Pip. In the time the book was written the church played a very important part in the peoples lives so when Magwitch forces Pip to say “lord strike me dead if I don’t” pip actually believes if he does not Copley with Magwitch’s wishes he will be struck dead.

In the eighth chapter, Pip is requested to “play” at Miss Havishams mansion; a total strangers house – were he is greeted with an icy reception from Havishams adopted daughter Estella. As she leads him through the dark dismal passages, she insists on calling him “boy” to show that a person of lower class than her is of no value and does not deserve to own a name. This was common in the Victorian era, as the rich and the wealthy (higher classes) often looked down their noses to the poor. When they approach Miss Havishams dressing room, Estella leaves him, “and even worse, took the candle with her”.

Pip is left in the dark in both terms, as he is now standing in the shadowy hallway alone, and he is unsure about what he will face on the other side of the door. Pip meets and eccentric old women who was left humiliated and heartbroken by being jilted at the alter in her youth. She has let her past experiences consume her and had all the clocks stopped at the exact point at which she had learnt of her betrayal, attempting to freeze time, rather than living with no goals or relevant future. From that day on, she imprisoned herself in her decaying mansion, never removing her now withered and yellowed wedding dress which had gone sour like her mind that has turned bitter and cruel.

Pip is asked to call Estella by Havisham- “”she answered at last, and her light came along the dark passage like a star.” Dickens uses this language to show how

Estella is from the upper class and pure as a star (that will someday grow to be pips light) and Pip is a common lower class boy who is insignificant. Havisham sees Pips discomfort and exposes it by saying to Estella “well, you can break his heart.” Making sure that Estella will never have to suffer like Miss Havisham was her only goal in life and so she brought boys to be testing grounds for Estella’s education on how to break men’s hearts as revenge for Miss Havisham pain. “I stole her heart, and put ice in it’s place.” When Pip feebly ask to leave, Miss Havisham replies “you shall go soon, play the game out.” This shows how much power Miss Havisham has over pip and how she owns everything on her property even Pip.

The next time pip meets Magwitch in chapter 39, the shoe is on the other foot. Pip discovers that Magwitch is his benefactor and instead of felling grateful and pleased he feels disgusted and repulsion, as know he knows were his money has come from and how it is ‘dirty money.’ “The abhorrence in which I held the man, the dread I had of him, the repugnance with which I shrank from him” Dickens puposely makes Pip the narrator as we see everything from his point of view. When pip thinks Miss Havisham is his benefactor so do we but when he finds out that Magwitch is the benefactor we are just as surprised as he is. We develop the story and fell the same surprise or shock as and at the same time Pip does showing Pips excellent skills as a writer.

In Magwitch and pips first encounter, Pip is receiving death threats and is being hurled around by the same man that is now saying “I wish to come in master” This is one of Dickens major skills as a writer showing circular structure; the poor becoming rich, and the poor dying out as the process is repeated over and over again. However, Pip feelings towards Magwitch improve when he learns the history and he takes part in hatching a plan to get him out of the country and into safety, marking the end of the second stage of Pip’s expectations. Magwitch is caught at the hands of his old enemy, Compason after a frantic getaway attempt and awaits trial in a court of law but becomes very ill in prison. The trial in which Magwitch is proved guilty is described as having a “broad shaft of light between the two-and-thirty-and the judge”, symbolising God being the light that separates the good and the righteous from the evil sinners. Magwitch is given the death sentence but he dies at Pips side before it can come into place.

Between the first and final meeting the master and the beggar switch places as, as Havisham is now at the mercy of Pip. There is a total character change. She now has “a new expression on her face, as if she were afraid of me and her movements are tremulous” which is repeated over and over to show what a fragile and desperate state she was in. When Havisham finds out that Pip has found out about her hidden motives, she tries to bribe him – “If I give you the money for this purpose, will you keep my secret”? This shows how low she is prepared to stoop to keep her secret hidden. Havisham owns a once grand mansion, and great wealth, but she breaks down completely at loosing the one and only precious thing to her – Estella. “She dropped to her knees” at Pips feet symbolising them literally switching positions as Havisham is now below Pip in both sense of the word. She “hung her head of it and wept” repeating “what have I done, what have I done!” as she wrung her hands and

crushed her white hair “as if she was reliving the pain of the day she was left at the alter and finally realising her blindness to what was most valuable to her all her life. Dickens uses words such as “grievous, “diseased” and “monstrous” to describe Havisham and her dark past, showing just how emotionally scarred she was from her past experiences.

Between the first and final meeting the master and the beggar switch places as, as Havisham is now at the mercy of Pip. There is a total character change. She now has “a new expression on her face, as if she were afraid of me and her movements are tremulous” which is repeated over and over to show what a fragile and desperate state she was in. When Havisham finds out that Pip has found out about her hidden motives, she tries to bribe him – “If I give you the money for this purpose, will you keep my secret”? This shows how low she is prepared to stoop to keep her secret hidden. Havisham owns a once grand mansion, and great wealth, but she breaks down completely at loosing the one and only precious thing to her – Estella.

“She dropped to her knees” at Pips feet symbolising them literally switching positions as Havisham is now below Pip in both sense of the word. She “hung her head of it and wept” repeating “what have I done, what have I done!” as she wrung her hands and crushed her white hair “as if she was reliving the pain of the day she was left at the alter and finally realising her blindness to what was most valuable to her all her life. Dickens uses words such as “grievous, “diseased” and “monstrous” to describe Havisham and her dark past, showing just how emotionally scarred she was from her past experiences.