Great Expectations-How Does Dickens Use Setting in Great Expectat...

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Great Expectations-How Does Dickens Use Setting in Great Expectations to Show Characters Feelings and Situations?

By | May 2009
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How does Dickens use setting in 'Great Expectations' to show characters feelings &+ situations?

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, during the Victorian era. In 1822, when Dickens was ten, the family relocated from Kent [where they had moved when Dickens was 5] to Camden Town, London. These places of residence are symbolic of certain occurances in Dickens life; throughout the novel, these areas play an avid role in the creation and development of the characters situations and feelings. This essay shall explore the numerous ways in which Dickens uses setting to portray his characters feelings and situations in 'Great Expectations'.

In the opening chapter, we are introduced to the novel's protagonist Phillip Pirrip alias Pip. In the first few paragraphs, we learn that Pip is an orphan child (this is shown by 'Phillip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, were dead and buried') whom feels alone and isolated in the world. This statement was established by the marshes depiction as the 'dark flat wilderness beyond the church yard...was the marshes...the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing in was the sea'. This can be interpreted as Pip's opinion regarding his social status; the marshes being portrayed as 'dark...wilderness' suggest Pip feels isolated from the rest of the world, meanwhile use of the word 'dark' suggests he feels left in the darkness whilst the upper classes go about their lives. The misty marshes are extremely significant throughout the novel, as they create an atmosphere which is sinister, which indicates some form of foreseeable danger and uncertainty. It is where he meets the escaped convict at the start, and later, is where he is kidnapped and nearly killed by Orlick. Symbolically, he passes the marshes on his way to London, a seemingly positive and exciting phase in his life. However, this setting indicates that perhaps, this experience will be a dangerous one. Another significant...
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