Saturday, August 31, 2019

Pips visit to Satis House Essay

Discuss how the theme of class is developed through Pip’s visit to Satis House ‘Great Expectations’ is a novel was written in the early 1860’s. The novel was written in the early 1860’s. The genre of ‘Great Expectation’ is a bildungsroman. This essay will be discussing how the theme of social class is developed through Pip’s visit to Satis House. Dickens’ aim was to show the corruption in English society at the time and he displays it through Pip’s, the main character, visits to Satis house, a house owned by a mysterious, middle classed woman with a beautiful daughter that is bemused by Pip’s appearance and lower class and therefore abuses him for it. Dickens portraits the upper class as evil, selfish villains in the novel and is on the lower class peoples side, always revealing the disgraceful riches the upper class owned while the poor got poorer. â€Å"Great Expectations† portrays the great escalation in the social hierarchy of a young lad named Pip as he progresses in his life, Starting as an orphan and apprentice blacksmith, his horizons are widened through contact with the upper classes. He strives to better himself and make that most difficult of journeys across the boundaries of class. Great Expectations is a social commentary that gives a strong opinion on society. It will also discuss Charles Dickens’ message of how he views the upper, middle and working classes. Dickens was brought up in a working class background. There was a noticeable division between classes in the early 19th century. Upper class people were able to stay at home without having to go to work. The middle class were able to stand over the working class (who did all the work) and live off the money they earned for them working in their mines, factories or farms. Working class citizens lived in small houses with only one or two rooms within the whole house, In ‘Great Expectations’, Charles Dickens portrays the upper classes through the characters of Miss. Havisham and Estella. Estella, like Pip is an orphan, however, unlike him, she has had a background of privilege typical for a Victorian upper class child. Pip is a classic example of the lowest level of a working class child; he’s an orphan, lives a miserable life with his obnoxious and beastly sister, and gets abused by everyone that sees him. ‘Universal struggle,’ this is how Pip describes life as a desolate young boy. Pip strives to become his dream fantasy; a gleaming, bright gentleman and to do that he must overcome many things. Firstly, Pip can barely read or write, â€Å"I struggled through the alphabet as if it had been a bramble bush,† this just adds emphasis on the true lowness of Pip’s class as only the rich got educated while the poor got overlooked. The children of the aristocracy had a privileged life; they had rich clothes and many toys. Typically, their father had to be obeyed and feared. Manners were considered very important: the children had to be well spoken and only speak when spoken to. They had to be looked after by a nanny not their mother. The children were taught by a private tutor until they were old enough to go to school, however only boys were allowed to go. Many working class children like Pip, lived in the country, in cottages with their families. They had no school at the beginning of the Victorian era as children had to work to help their parents. A number of families then considered moving to towns to get jobs. Town children lived in overcrowded streets which quickly became slums; children had to share one bed or sleep on the floor; they had a bad diet and dressed badly. They were prone to diseases such as, smallpox, measles, diphtheria and tuberculosis. These children worked in local mines, factories or as chimney sweepers. This shows us the different lifestyles of the rich and the poor and how unfairly the poor were treated. In the opening scene of the novel, Pip is discovered sitting by his parents’ grave from which we learn that he is an orphan. From this perspective the reader can see just how far Pip will have to climb to achieve the status of a ‘gentleman’. In typical Bildungsroman style, our sympathies for the main character are aroused by the pathos of the scene. However, it is not all tears. There is also humour, for example, where Pip recalls his belief that his five brothers, â€Å"†¦ had all been born on their backs with their hands in their trousers-pockets, and had never taken them out in this state of existence. † The reader is lulled into a state of contemplative pity at the plight of the â€Å"†¦ bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all. † This atmosphere is brutally shattered by the appearance of the escaped convict, a figure nevertheless more comic than truly terrifying, and one who will later help Pip achieve his dreams of social improvement. Thus, Dickens exploits the comedic as well as the tragic potential of the characters and settings in his writing to develop the theme of class. This is also evident in the visits to Satis House. At the beginning of the novel we find out that Pip is illiterate, for example he says: â€Å"I fell among those thieves, the nine figures, who seems every evening to do something now to disguise themselves and baffle recognition. † This shows that Pip can barely read or write. He does not have a formal education or go to a normal school, but an evening school in the village ran by Mr. Wopsle’s great-aunt; â€Å"much of my unassisted, and more by the help of Biddy. † This shows the readers that Pip has learnt more from Biddy then the school. Pip’s desire for self-improvement is the main reason as to why the novel’s title is ‘Great Expectations’; because he believes that he has the ‘possibility of advancement’ in life, that he has ‘Great Expectations’ about his future. We find out later on in the novel that Pip longs to become a gentleman; in order to do this, he needs an education. From Pip’s first visit to Satis House, we realize the staggering difference between Pip and Miss Havisham’s child, Estella, and how their class and background affect their attitudes towards each other and their views on society and life overall. The setting of Satis House flabbergasts Pip so much, he can barely explain everything around him, â€Å"satins, and lace, and silks all of white†¦ † The description brings to mind a very rich, selfish and stagnant person which is how Dickens represents all the rich and upper-class people. Pip is confused of how to prepare himself for his first visit to Satis House, â€Å"I was not at ease regarding the manner in which I should acquaint myself under that lady’s roof. † This shows that the poor scarcely get in contact with the rich and are bewildered with how to present them. On the other hand, Estella proudly calls Pip by the name â€Å"boy† and mocks his clothes which in turn makes Pip realise his â€Å"lower class† so he therefore begins to clean and pamper himself after the suffering. Dickens builds up tension by describing Satis House as decayed which is a reflection of Miss Havisham’s odd personality and it’s a bit bias to be honest, because all Dickens’ fantasies about the rich being evil, rude and a bit crazy are fitted into one character especially and her house. One time, Miss Havisham questions Pip in such a way at one point, that he gets scared out of his wits and his answers to her spiteful questions are all monosyllabic, â€Å"who is it? † â€Å"Pip†¦ † In essence, Dickens’ disrespect to the upper-class is such, that he represents them all in one lady that is so low, she bully’s innocent little boys and makes them feel ashamed for who they are and even makes Pip accept he’s lower then her which one may argue is a good thing as it inspires Pip to greatness later on but is atrocious, giving that status is not all there is to life. Pip only fully realises his lower classed lifestyle when he encounters the prominent Estella. Estella is the elegant, youthful, proud girl raised by Ms Havisham. Dickens juxtaposes the characters of Pip and Estella, by showing the two different worlds they coexist in and the different classes that occupy their worlds, Dickens also tries to symbolise their characters as the higher and lower class of society. Estella symbolises the superior class; this is shown through her beauty, wealth and the confidence that resolves inside her. Pip meets Estella who has contempt for him and his working class background. Estella makes fun out of Pip’s hands and boots by saying: â€Å"what coarse hands he has! And what thick boots! † This proves that there is a big difference between classes. Estella enjoys making Pip fell bad about himself and his social background. The tone Estella uses to speak to Pip is very rude: † ‘Ah! ‘ said the girl, ‘ but you see, she don’t. ‘ † This shows the readers that Estella feels superior to Mr. Pumblechook. Furthermore, it has connotations that state Estella is not afraid to speak to her elders, she thinks she knows what Miss. Havisham is thinking; this depicts how Miss. Havisham has brought her up – to be confident, mean and rude to men. By saying, â€Å"Ah†, she is shown to believe that is better than Pumblechook. However, saying, â€Å"but you see, she don’t†, shows that she is not really upper class because she uses slang unlike an upper class person usually would not do. Estella tries to be upper class but she is betrayed by her lower class language. Readers are invited to believe that she wants to be upper class because she likes looking down on others. Pip reacts in an odd manner. Estella continually uses â€Å"boy† to address Pip but he addresses her by â€Å"miss†. This juxtaposition shows us that Estella thinks it is appropriate to be disrespectful to Pip as he is unimportant because of his class, whereas Pip is shown to have respect for her. This could be because he thinks that Estella is more important because of her upper class background or whether it is because of his upbringing – Mrs Joe and Joe taught him to respect everyone no matter what class they are. Pip is shown to have desire towards Estella; â€Å"returned the young lady, who was pretty and seemed very proud. † This shows that Pip already has affection towards her. Furthermore, he already shows that he s interested in her. Later on in the novel, Pip is asked by Miss. Havisham, what he thinks of Estella; to which Pip replies, â€Å"I think she is very pretty. † This again shows that Pip has feelings of desire for Estella, though they have only just met. After Pips visit to Satis House Pip notices the difference between upper class and working class, between him and Estella. He hates the difference and he wants to be a gentleman not a blacksmith. Pip thinks that if he has any chance with Estella he has to become a stereotypical upper class man. Pip’s mind has no become poisoned with Estella’s words and even though he is not yet an upper class person he is beginning to think like one. His attitudes towards Joe have changed. This is where Pip’s transformation begins to take place and from here the title of the novel comes into the picture. The expectations he wishes to achieve are great. From this chapter we can see the separation between the rich and poor. I think the message Dickens was trying to pass on to the readers of this novel was that, much poverty existed in the world, and even though the rich and the poor lived so close together in the world, they lives were worlds apart. I think Dickens own life experiences informed this viewpoint. Just as Pip, Dickens lived both lower and higher class lifestyle. As a child he was poor and had to work for a living so he was able to experience how it was to live the life of struggle and poverty, however when he grew up he became a writer and had a higher class lifestyle being able to observe how close rich and poor lived, but with such different lives. I think that Dickens had sympathy for the both the higher and lower class people. He had sympathy for the poor because they had to struggle to survive and had to work very hard for such things as money and food to feed the mouths of their families. Conversely I think he felt sympathy for the higher class also, he showed this through Ms Havisham and Satis House. We can see that he has sympathy for the rich as Dickens makes Satis House like a prison and Ms Havisham like a sad old hag that exists inside the walls of the prison, he is also showing the reader that even though she is rich and has money she is sad and imprisoned within her home and her sorrows, I think this is how many higher class people and families lives feel, so this is why he feels sympathy towards them. The bildungsroman genre is a story in where a character grows up and has higher understanding of the world. Pip’s visit to Satis House fits perfectly into the bildungsroman genre, this is due to the fact that after Pips visit to Satis House he grows up, not necessarily in age but he grows up inside; he becomes more mature and also gets a higher understanding of his class and place in society. The Visit to Satis House also reveals that in this world, materialism is a very common trait that presides in the hearts of all individuals, hearts which can forget their closest friends and even family for a chance at an elevated class in life. Finally Dickens is also leaving his final message that you don’t need all the riches to become an ethical person leading a prosperous life. This is the thought that Dickens wishes is engraved in the minds of all who read the novel.

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