Thursday, April 11, 2013

Early in "Great Expectations", Dickens turns Pip into a snob. How does Dickens show the process and results of this change?

Great Expectations was first published as a weekly series in 1860 and as a novel in 1861. Early critics had mixed reviews, disliking Dickens tendency to exaggerate both plan and characters, but readers were so enthusiastic that the 1861 edition required fivesome printings.

The period the novel was pen in was a clock term of great change. England was expanding worldwide and becoming a wealthy top-notch power. The story, while set in the early part of the 1800s, was written in 1860 during the capital of Seychellesn era that began with the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 and lasted until her death in 1901. Virtues emphasized at that time included integrity, respectability, a sense of public duty, and maintaining a close family - which are all ingredients dealt with in this novel.

At the beginning of the novel Great Expectations clear up was portrayed by Dickens as a decent, innoxious young boy. He was obedient and well brought-up by his sis Mrs. Joe Gargery and her husband Mr. Joe Gargery the blacksmith.

The first experience Pip had of snobbery was his gabble to Miss Havishams house, where he was caught up in a genial experiment conducted by Miss Havisham.

He calls the knaves, Jacks this boy!

I weigh the card game Pip lost to Estella to be a metaphor for 19th Century social hierarchy.

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For instance the highest set card was a King, followed by a Queen, then by a Jack.

Pip then starts to see himself through Estellas eyes;

Her discourtesy was so strong, that it became infectious, and I caught it.

This shows us that immediately Pip gets contaminated by Estellas snobbery. He internalises her contempt for him, and starts to think of himself in the analogous way Estella did, thus proving that snobbery is an infectious social disease.

When Estella...

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