Great Expectations

Topics: Great Expectations, Miss Havisham, Estella Havisham Pages: 6 (1463 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Great Expectations Lecture One

Dr Mandy Treagus

Lecture Plan
Realism and the rise of the novel
More on the Bildungsroman
Indicators of adult looking back at childhood
Narrator and narrative voice
What drives the narrative?

Great Expectations and Realism
Realism a reading as well as a writing practice
Realism strongly connected with philosophy
The individual in relation to society
‘Modern philosophical realism … begins from the position that Truth can be discovered by the individual through his senses; it has its origins in Descartes and Locke, and received its first full formulation by Thomas Reid in the middle of the eighteenth century’ (Ian Watt 11-12).

Great Expectations and Realism
‘novel is the form of literature which most fully reflects this individualist and innovating reorientation’ (Watt) •Ian Watt says it reflects the culture of the last few centuries which ‘has set an unprecedented value on originality, on the novel’ •Novel established in eighteenth century, with writers such as Defoe, Swift, Richardson and Fielding

‘Locke had defined personal identity as an identity of consciousness through duration in time; the individual was in touch with his own continuing identity through memory of his past thoughts and actions.’ (Watt) •‘the novel in general has interested itself much more than any other literary form in the development of its characters in the course of time’ (Watt) •Realism sometimes refers to specific group of writers from late-nineteenth century who were committed to writing the mundane aspects of everyday life, but we are using it more broadly.

Nineteenth-Century Realism
Victorian era – novel well established
Male and female writers
Material drawn from everyday life
Sense of objective reality that can be represented
Though language could not provide ‘a transparent “objective” verisimilitude, novelists as realists still believed that language could represent the world beyond the text and convey a meaning outside of language, a nonverbal truth’ (Sussman) •Detail serves overall narrative

Teleological – moving toward the end
Offers intimate view of consciousness

Bildungsroman
German term, coming from descriptions of Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship •Individual leaves provincial origins to receive education and take his place in the world •the Victorian novel shared an ‘intimate connection … with the desires, aspirations, and anxieties of its readers’ (Sussman). •Finds his place in the world, especially his vocation and his marriage partner

Narrator
1st person narration
Adult looking back on childhood
The novel begins December 24, 1812 – Pip seven years old
Pip leaves for London in 1823, age 17
Sees Estella in grounds of Satis House before he leaves for Egypt in 1829. He’s 23. Finally, when he’s 34 or 35, and Estella 34, he meets her December 1840, in grounds of now demolished Satis House.

My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.

I give Pirrip as my father’s family name, on the authority of his tombstone and my sister – Mrs Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith. As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies regarding what they were like, were unreasonably derived from their tombstones. The shape of the letters on my father’s, gave me an odd idea that he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair.

From the character and turn of the inscription, ‘Also Georgiana Wife of the Above,’ I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly. To five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long, which were arranged in a neat row beside their grave, and were sacred to the...
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