Great Expectations

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Great Expectations offers a diversity of interpretations so various responders will be engaged by the text. The main character, Pip, is used to establish the journey of a young boy’s life as he learns the true meaning of life and what values are most important. Dickens uses a range of characters to show Pip learning this lesson and to provide insights into various aspects of the Victorian era culture. Characters such as Joe and Magwitch provide an insight into the education and the crime and justice systems of Victorian England, along the importance of social class and wealth. Whilst, Estella and Miss Havisham provide an insight into the position of women and the inequality of power between the genders.

Throughout the novel Pip encounters a range of people and undergoes various experiences. It is through these people and experiences that Pip learns numerous lessons in life. Pips main learning-catalysts are Magwitch, Joe, Miss Havisham and Estella.

Education was an important cultural aspect of the Victorian era. Education allowed wider access to employment, and respect; for one could not become a gentleman and part of the upper-class without an education. Yet access to education was greatly determined to one’s position in society. Those in the upper class were given a higher priority to receive education than those in the lower class. Therefore it was very difficult for one to advance within society. This provides Dickens with the opportunity to gently satirize the class system of this era and to provide a Marxist view on the inequality of wealth and power.

Dickens presents numerous characters, all from different social classes with different levels of education. Through the characters Joe and Drummle, Dickens is able to compare their levels of education and their social classes to convey the unequal provision of education within the society.

Bentley Drummle is a member of the upper class, who attends tutoring sessions with Pip at the...
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