Monday, January 13, 2020

Discuss Dickens treatment of the Victorian concept Essay

Discuss Dickens treatment of the Victorian concept of a gentleman in â€Å"Great Expectations†. Great Expectations is a novel about a boy called Pip and is of him growing up. One day a lawyer turns up at his sister’s house saying he has great expectations of him. A mysterious benefactor is giving money through the lawyer to Pip. Pip spends this money on what he thinks is becoming gentleman i. e. buying new furniture. However towards the end of the novel, when Pip finds out who his mysterious benefactor really is, he realises what a true gentleman is, a man of great principles and, a person with good manners. The novel is written by a much older Pip looking back at his life and being amazed at some of the mistakes he actually made. In Great Expectations, every character has there own opinion of what a real gentleman should be like. Pip, the main character of the novel; while he is still a teenager thinks that a real gentleman should have a lot of money, wear expensive clothes, know how to read and write and should go to a gentleman’s club. Whereas towards the end of the novel, when he is much more grown up, he realises that a true gentleman has good manners and is loyal. Dickens wrote this novel in many sections, which appeared in a newspaper, as the story became so famous the sections were collaborated into a novel. The novel was written in Victorian times, and like many of his novels they were about the times and the attitudes of all people of society. In this novel Dickens’s message to the Victorian people was that to be true gentleman one did not have to be of a rich family or have lots of money; but a true gentleman was loyal, treated others with great respect and had immaculate manners. In modern society we all think that a gentleman should treat others with respect, dress smartly, have excellent manners and be well behaved in public. However some people follow the literal meaning of a gentleman, being that the individual comes from a noble / family. In the novel Pip makes friends with Bently Drummel, who is a gentleman by definition of a dictionary, however what Pip realises a true gentleman is, Bently Drummel is not. There are many things about Bently Drummel that convinces the reader that Bently Drummel is not a true gentleman. Firstly for example he beats his wife, which a true gentleman would never do. A true gentleman would treat a lady with respect at all times. Bently Drummel is only a gentleman because he comes from a rich family his ethics are all completely wrong. He does not lens any money to his friends and he treats them as if they are inferior to him due to his riches. We all know that a true gentleman would never mistreat his friends and would always take great care f them. However on could also argue against these accusations, which are against Bently Drummel and say that he is in fact quite a gentleman. But that all depends upon what one defines a gentleman as. If one says that a gentleman is someone who is very arrogant, and loves himself and his riches more than anyone else then you could say that Bently Drummel is a gentleman However I think in modern day society, and what dickens is trying to put across to the reader is that it is not ones position in society; it is not ones riches that make him a gentleman but his humility, his kindness and his love for his neighbours. In the Victorians times, in which the paper is set, the book as we have said was published in small sections in the newspaper and middle and even lower class people would get to read these newspaper one way or another, so Dickens’s message is not just to the rich or just to the poor but to the whole society. Another example of gentleman by definition and a true gentleman is of Compeyson and Magwitch Magwitch is not rich nor of noble decent, but has good principles, he is Pips mysterious benefactor who sends him money in order for him to become a gentleman, although it may not seem so due to the events early in the novel but Magwitch is kind and caring, as he makes sure that Pip is well looked after. Having said that Magwitch is an escaped convict yet he earns money via an honest living from which he sends money to Pip. Compeyson was Magwitch’s accomplice who ran away with all the money and blamed all the crimes on Magwitch who served the time. Another thing against the Compeyson is that he had very bad principles compared to Magwitch. He conned Miss Havisham into loving him and then and on their wedding day he left Miss Havisham waiting at the altar and ran away with most of her money. This left Miss Havisham devastated she sat I a room with all the clocks stopped at the time of the wedding, she sat their in her wedding gown, very frail obviously because she was not eating well. A true gentleman could never do this to a women and this is highlighted in the way that Magwitch treats women. At the time in which this novel was released in its different sections, Dickens wanted to add enough suspense so that the reader wanted to read the next section and would remember all the previous sections. He added thrill and excitement to the section by introducing a new character relatively in each section, who has there own appearance, is from there own part of society i. e. working class, and who has their own different views and opinions. This is clearly apparent as each character has his own view, for example Estella a beautiful girl, who Pip is deeply in love with tells him that a gentleman dresses smart, has nice shoes and soft hands. IT is clear to see the message that dickens is broadcasting to the people through his novel and is seem to have an effect because it tells all the people the rich and poor that money does not make a gentleman in the eyes of the community so it is better to be happy with what one has and to have good principles and scruples.

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