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Structure and Language (Great Expectations)
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This section explores that structure and language of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

Great Expectations takes the form of a Bildungsroman (which translates into education novel in English). Bildungsroman were very popular in the 19th century and used explore the life of the protagonist (Pip in Great Expectations) from youth to maturity.

The novel is told in the first person and we see all events through Pips eyes, He is looking back in hindsight and often explains his emotions and feelings as the story progresses.

Great Expectations first appeared in a serialised form in Dickens’ weekly periodical ‘All the year round’ which is why we see the author use cliff hangers at the end of each part to keep the readers coming back for more.

We can look at the structure of the novel through the three stages of Pips life depicted in Great Expectations (Childhood, Youth and Maturity). During these three stages pip goes through both a physical and emotional journey.

Dickens’ gives his characters memorable names throughout the novel, in many cases the names are chosen to give the reader an idea of their character traits. Pip is a good example as it depicts growth to the reader as a pip is a small seed that grows. Estella means star, stars are glittering and bright but also cold and remote. Magwitch is a hybrid of the words magic and witch – readers will be reminded of the sinister and Dickens wants us to find Pumblechook and Wopsle absurd and ridiculous which is why they are named in such a way.

 

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