The novel Great Expectations is perhaps one of Charles Dickens greatest novels. The novel is about how the life of an orphan boy called Philip Pirrip (also known as Pip) who does one kind thing for an escaped convict (which he does more out of fear then charity) and then finds himself being sent of to London where he slowly moves up the social ladder with the help of an unknown benefactor. However before he is sent off to London Pip meets Miss Havisham. This old strange lady who has never left her home, Satis House since she was left at the alter by her would be husband.
Pip also meets Miss Havisham’s beautiful but “insulting” daughter Estella who is poisoned by Miss Havisham’s hate towards men treating Pip with disgust. I think the plot of Great Expectation is written to portray the differences in social class. To make clear the differences between the rich and the poor and how rich people have more opportunities then the poor. Furthermore to show how Pip grows from a young boy to an adult and how he changes in social status. The novel Great Expectations is narrated by Pip but as the older higher class Pip who has already been through all the events in the novel.
Pip is obviously the most important character in Great Expectations. The story is told in his words and opinions which define the events and characters in the novel. A result of this is that Dicken’s most important task as the writer is to create Pip’s character. This is because Pip’s voice is what tells the story. Furthermore as the novel is narrated by Pip we get to have the insight and opinion of what Pip thinks about each of the other characters. We also get to see what Pip is thinking when he is in a difficult situation such as when he meets Magwitch or when he has to go to Satis House to meet Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter.
In Extract One we are introduced to the main character of Great Expectations Pip. Pip is an orphan boy who lives with his sister “Mrs Joe Gargery” and her husband. They live in the”marsh country, down by the river” in Kent. Extract one begins with Pip sitting in an isolated churchyard, staring at his parents and his five little brothers tombstones and imagining what they looked like when they were alive. In the churchyard, Pip is seized by Abel Magwitch who is an escaped convict, this horrific man, growling, dressed in rags, and with his leg in chains threatens Pip saying that he’ll “cut” his throat.
This entrance to Great Expectations is an extreme focal point for the novel as it is where the plot for the navel is created. I think Dicken’s chose to start the novel like this so that the reader would be intrigued to read on. Starting the novel with the lonesome Pip in the churchyard where all his family lay dead and then making him suffer further by the hands of the convict Magwitch only intensifies the sorrow Pip has gone through in his life. Which I think makes the reader want to find out more about Pips life and what is going to happen to him as he grows up.
The settings of Great Expectations have an important role on the storyline. The settings echo the characters behaviour and circumstances and they also constantly set the tone for what is about to happen next in the novel. Dickens does this by creating dramatic atmospheres for the characters. These atmospheres reinforce the perceptions and the situations of the characters. An example of this is when Pip goes alone into the dark secluded graveyard. The graveyard being a place of death shows that death may be in the area.
Throughout the novel many of these comparisons and relationships between characters and settings are made. A lot of of these are subtle and not obvious if they are not reflected upon. The settings from both extract one and two of Great expectations are very important. This is because they create imagery for the reader which helps make the reader believe the area they are reading about is real. This importance of setting is shown at the start of extract one, which takes place at the graveyard where Pip’s family lay dead. This “bleak” place gives the novel an introduction to a tense and frightening mood.