The canonical novel , Great expectations by Charles Dickens sets the scene for a narrative journey into the heart of belonging as it related to literary techniques of truncated non-grammatical sentences, malapropism, animal imagery, and violent vocabulary, also the use of Gothicism throughout the novel. the opening chapter, introduces you to a single character, Phillip Pirrip, better known as Pip. Early in the book during the opening chapter, Pip the character is a child, and Pip the narrator focuses gently on fun as his younger self, however he enables the reader to both feel and see the story through his eyes.
The technique conveyed, through the structure shows that there are two perspectives, two characters, two Pip’s . Both Pip the narrator and Pip the character, the voice telling the story, and the person acting it out. Throughout the introduction Pip comes across very childish and immature, this is conveyed through his truncated non-grammatical sentences, and the use of malapropism, for example “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”.
We are also introduced to a fearsome criminal, a convict, who is vile and brutal, he went by the name of Magwitch. Magwitch was brought into the story with his terrorizing and exploiting approach, to Pip in the cemetery. Pip described him as being “a fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron leg. A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head”. Magwitch the character conveyed his violent approach through the techniques of violent vocabulary, and his animal imagery. He spoke of cannibalism threats, “what fat cheeks you got you young dog, darn me if I could eat em”.
This created Pip to fear for his life. “You fail or you go from my words in any particular, no matter how small it is and your heart and your liver shall be tore out, roasted and ate”. The use of Gothicism in the novel sets the scene of suspense, horror, fear, and superstition throughout the characters. Gothicism is mostly portrayed through Magwitch in the setting scene of the graveyard and his evil approach towards Pip, discussed earlier and through the use of detailed tombstones, and through the use of death being explored throughout the novel.
As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them, 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”. Social class is conveyed through Great Expectations, Aristotle asserted that the form of fiction demanded of every work that the protagonist begin with a place in the social world, some action in the plot lead to a disruption of this order, the protagonist losing his rightful position.
In Great expectations, Pip exists as a character of many detached world’s. It is possible to find five complete and discrete society’s in the England of Dicken’s novel of Great Expectations, these five summarize the whole of the transitional period known to postmodern critics as Victorian. The two representatives of the old world’s feudal order, are those of village labour Joe and Biddy and aristocracy Ms Havisham and Estella, of the new world one sees the urban poor, Jaggers clientele and Pips, Avenger, the working class Jaggers and Wemmick, and the entrepreneurs/ capitalists which are Compeyson and Pumblechook.
Pip in his time samples all five circles, belonging variously to each over the course of the novel, making it very difficult to assess his ‘reintegration into society’, at the end it is certainly impossible that he should become integrated into them all, so he must choose his one path; Dickens leaves to his readers evaluation of Pip’s success. Place is expressed in Great Expectations through Miss Havisham as she stands a representative of feudal aristocracy, through her family money in fact was made on the brewery adjacent to Satis House, which suggests capitalism.
Pips language describing Satis House in many ways denote its ‘castleness’. It creates a magnificent gothic setting whose various elements symbolize Pips romantic perception of the upper class along with many themes. The crumbling, dilapidated stones of the house, and the darkness and dust that pervade it, symbolize the general decadence of the lives of its inhabitants and of the upper class. “Miss Havisham’s house, which was of old brick and dismal and had a great many iron bars to it.
Some of the windows had been walled up; of those that remained all the lower were rustily barred” Family and relationships are conveyed through Great Expectations the novel, it is a myriad of familial situations that not only provide background for the reader but also help develop that plot and circumstances that affect our young hero , Pip. Dickens uses the thread of family to weave his story into an effective entertainment.
Pip begins life as an orphan, predeceased by his father, mother and five infant brothers, alone and isolated with only a grudging older sister and her more gentle husband “to care for him. home had never been a pleasant place for me, because of my sisters temper”. Though Pip is well fed and physically maintained, he is emotionally starved through Mrs Joes domestic tyranny. He is a reject. His sister makes it quite clear that she doesn’t like him. Great Expectations is a representation of humanity’s susceptibility to become hostage to ones own sensibilities, experiencing the vulnerability, alienation, and insecurity consequent to the absence of a collective identity, denoting the psychological complexities of an individuals sense of rightful positioning.
To belong is not simply to be accepted but rather to acknowledge the imposition of reality’s restrictions in determining ones social familial, and personal levels of acceptance. “was always treated as if i had insisted on being born” (20) “ all the times she had wished me in my grave”. Dickens explores love and loyalty through relationships and intimacy in Great Expectations. He makes it obvious that they underlie happiness and misery. Pips unrequited love for Estella which is the main focus of the novel, it only brings him misery.
Also Miss Havisham’s life is ruined when the man she loves leaves her on her wedding day. “ill tell you what real love is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter---as i did”. (Chapter 29). This quote treaties on love, given by Miss Havisham, it could just as well as been stated by Pip. Miss Havisham raised Estella to be the smiter, and she succeeded, Estella lets Pip into her world but not her heart. this is Pip, it? Returned the young lady , who was very pretty and seemed very proud; come in Pip”. She then leads Pip into a love-sick, self-destructive obsession and yearning for love. “against reason, against promise, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be” (219). From every encounter with Estella Pip emerges miserably “i fancied, as i looked at her, that i slipped hopelessly back into the coarse and common boy again” (222).