Great Expectations

1110 WordsMar 1, 20135 Pages
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…show more content…
Through the crime and justice system Dickens explores the unfair treatment and conditions endured by those in the lower classes because of their position in society. This portrays a Marxists reading as it shows how little power lower-class citizens were given because of their wealth and class. Another cultural aspect explored within Great Expectations is the position of women. Living in a patriarchal society women had few rights or opportunities. Women had little power, and the power they did possess was limited. Dickens compares the balance of power between men and women, thus creating a feminist reading. Dickens uses the female characters in the novel to convey the inequality amongst men and women. Characters such as Miss Havisham and Estella are used to show how some women did have power and explore how they were able to use their power within a male-dominated society. Miss Havisham is a strange and unique character which Dickens uses to portray the power and position of women in society. Miss Havisham is a wealthy dowager who lives in a rotting mansion and wears an old wedding dress every day of her life. Her life is defined by a single tragic event: her jilting by Compeyson on what was to have been their wedding day. From that moment forth, Miss Havisham is determined never to move beyond her heartbreak. This presents the lack of power Miss Havisham possesses as she has
Open Document