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Transcript of Great Expectations
Love and Forgiveness
Illusion vs Reality
Money, Class and Snobbery
"That girl ... has been brought up by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on all male sex"
Revenge provides the narrative which drives the novel. The exciting a thriller-esque nature of the text is the result of the theme, and inspires readers to follow the plot to its end. Revenge occurs in the novel on three levels.
How is Revenge exposed in the text?
Magwitch's revenge on Compeyson
Magwitch is grimly determined to avenge himself on the treacherous, exploitative Compeyson and society. Magwitch considered Pip to be the perfect tool to achieve this. He believed that by making Pip a true gentleman, he would be able to get revenge on Compeyson, and those whoses discernment and judgment depended on appearance, not reality. Magwitch, though he might have achieved success on the periphery, could not hope to be welcomed in England and by Pip. With money coming from the sweat and labour of a convict, Pip would never be a true gentleman, as no credit and reputation came out of it. Thus Pip failed to be a tool for revenge on society, as Magwitch had desired. In the end the legal system takes revenge on Magwitch rather than punishing him fairly.
1. Why did Magwitch want revenge on Compeyson and society? What events lead to this?
2. Why did he believe making Pip into a gentleman would achieve revenge?
3. Why was Magwitch unsuccessful in his endeavor?
4. How does the legal system get revenge on Magwitch?
It is through Dickens use of Magwitch's revenge that we learn:
The true definition of a gentleman
- Initially to be a gentleman was considered to be wealthy, well mannered and to have a high social status. However, it becomes evident that to be a genuine gentleman is to be a man of virtue, honesty and dignity. Pip becomes corrupted by the money showing snobbery towards the likes of Joe and turning his back on the kind and innocence Pip from the beginning of the novel. Upon meeting Magwitch again at the end of the novel, Pip is provided with the opportunity to shake himself free from the blind ideas he had entertained towards being a gentleman. Pip comes to learn that money would never pay friendship and love, and he cultivates the inner strength to protect others when they are in adversity. In a sense, Magwitch helps Pip to become noble and honorable.In Great Expectations, the definition of a gentleman depends on his heart and soul.By writing the changes of life Pip has experienced, Dickens tries to show readers that a man who had profound kindness and inner strength should be respected and called “a gentleman”.
Miss Havishams revenge on men
Miss Havisham vowed from the time she was left at the alter to take revenge upon all men. Pip and Estella become innocent instruments of this revenge.Miss Havisham is an example of single-minded vengeance pursued destructively: both Miss Havisham and the people in her life suffer greatly because of her quest for revenge. Miss Havisham is completely unable to see that her actions are hurtful to Pip and Estella. She is redeemed at the end of the novel when she realizes that she has caused Pip’s heart to be broken in the same manner as her own; rather than achieving any kind of personal revenge, she has only caused more pain. Miss Havisham immediately begs Pip for forgiveness
1. How does Miss Havisham use Estella as a weapon of Revenge?
2. Why does Miss Havisham not contradict Pip when she realizes he thinks she is his benefactor and therefore intended to have Estella?
3. What events lead to Miss Havishams realization of the enormity of what she has done?
4. What are the consequences of Miss Havishams actions on Pip and Estella?
It is through Dickens use of Miss Haisham's revenge that we learn:
Dickens’ demonstrates that revenge only continues to harm oneself and others, and does not seem to be able to bring any real happiness. Noted is the great shift in character for Miss Havisham in chapter 49. Up until that point, she has been directly or indirectly cruel/sharp towards others and coldhearted. After Pip’s hearty explosion of his love for Estella in front of Miss Havisham, this shift is presented. She see the love she once had for a man displayed in Pip’s love for Estella; it brought about a sympathetic nature and – potentially – a revival of hope in love. In this proceeding chapter, she wants “to show [Pip] that [she is] not all stone.” (pg.295) Also, she breaks down into repeating “What have I done!” as if she is maddened by the thought of the outcome of Estella’s character for which she is responsible. It softens the reader to see the change of views of Miss Havisham and contrasts the acts of Estella and herself deceiving and torturing Pip by creating a hope that Estella was designed for only himself.It proves that an eye for an eye is not an effective way to heal your pain. She sets out to avenge the betrayal by teaching Estella that men are evil, however she doesn't get any joy out of the situation, she just causes more people to get hurt in the same way that she was.
Orlick's revenge on Mrs Joe and Pip
Orlick takes violent revenge on Mrs Joe for insulting him, and tries to do the same to Pip, just for being who he is. Orlicks revenge on Mrs Joe is working on two levels; he resent Mrs Joe for her bullying attitude towards him, and sees it as an opportunity to seek revenge on Pip. Furthermore, Orlick sees Pip as competition in both his professional and romantic life, and believes that he is purposefully setting out to ensure he is unsuccessful in both aspects of life. He blames Pip for his crimes.
Chapter 53, paragraph starting "The man was in no hurry, and struck again with the flint and steel" until paragraph starting "After a blank I found that I was lying ..."
Read the paragraph and identify the following:
1. What is happening in the scene?
2. What reasons/justifications does Orlick gives for his actions towards Pip?
3. What does Orlick admit to? However who does he believe is responsible and why?
4. Why is Pip afraid of dying?
It is through Dickens use of Orlick's revenge that we learn:
Orlick is portrayed as the extreme form of evil. The novel emphasizes the values of kindness, perseverance, temperance, humility and cleanliness. In such a novel, Dolge Orlick takes the place of the brutal, lazy and vicious villain. Dickens achieves this by constructing Orlick as an opposing parallel to Joe and furthermore as the novel progresses he become a foil to Pip. He is created to exemplify how virtuous and good everyone else is in comparison.
“Take a pencil and write under my name, ‘I forgive her!’”
The regretful tone of the novel is redeemed through the theme of love and forgiveness. Forgiveness in the novel comes from love. Love is the backbone of the novel, the thing that binds the others together, forgiveness is its conclusion.
How are Love and Forgiveness exposed in the novel?
Miss Havisham herself has experienced the deep feelings of love, namely towards Compeyson. However, her heart is broken and she is left devastated. As a result Miss Havisham isolates herself from any future deep connections and shuns human connection. After her betrayal in love she hardens her heart towards her fellow man. By hardening her heart and suppressing her naturally affectionate nature, she's committed a crime against herself. She has frozen herself in a time of hurt and unhappiness through her inability to forgive.
"I'll 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!"
Estella and Miss Havisham
Although Miss Havisham claims to 'love' Estella, we as readers are aware Miss Havisham has ulterior motives in adopting Estella; this is not a loving action on her part, but a calculated manoeuvre to turn the child into a haughty, heartless instrument of revenge against men. Estella is encouraged to practice her disdain on Pip and to break his heart. Paradoxically, Miss Havisham's greatest sin, is against herself. By hardening her heart she loses her generous, affectionate nature and becomes withered inside emotionally. Her punishment is that the heartless young woman she has made, uses her lack of feelings against her. This shows that no matter how heartless one tries to be, there is always someone more heartless.
Pip and Estella
Although Pip believes he loves Estella we know he has merely been misled by the powerful but destructive force of infatuation. His 'love' for Estella is simply a construction of Miss Havisham's who has puppeteered Estella to entice Pip and subsequently break his heart. Estella for most of the novel takes pleasure in her role of avenger.
Pip and Miss Havisham
Although Pip is aware that Miss Havisham and Estella are instrumental in his tragedy he is willing to forgive them. Of particular interest is what results from his forgiveness of Miss Havisham. Dickens shows, through Miss Havisham, how some people can't forgive and refuse to let go of their past. However As Pip forgives Miss Havisham for all her wrong doings, a sense of relief, a sense she has been desperately craving all her life, washes upon her. "Though every vestige of her dress was burnt, she still had something of her old ghastly bridal appearance; as she lay with a white sheet loosely overlying that, the phantom air of something that had been and was changed, was still upon her." (pg. 404) She once was a lady who lived for pain and breaking people's hearts, but now she lives for happiness and loving. Like Dickens said, the answer to the question, “What is the greatest expectations any of us have of life?”, is to love, and be loved by another. Miss Havisham shows this at the end of the novel. When the fire surrounded Miss Havisham something had changed; the inability to love and forgive had found its way into Miss Havisham's heart.
Complete a triangle diagram that depicts the the interconnected roles of love and forgiveness between Pip, Estella and Miss Havisham.
Write a short answer 5-10 sentences on what you think Dickens was intending readers to learn through his portrayal of love and forgiveness in the actions of these three characters.
NB. Pay particular attention to the result that Pips forgiveness has on Miss Havisham.
Pip and Magwitch
Through Magwitch's selfless, though misguided, protection, Pip perceives the coldness at the heart of his ambitions. Pip is so humbled by his experiences that he is able to forgive the convict who shapes his life. Magwitch develops a fatherly affection towards Pip, who in the end returns his affection.
Exploration of themes through quotes
Explain these quotes in regards to the relationship between Magwitch and Pip. How do these quotes present the theme of Love and Forgiveness?
“Look’ee here, Pip. I’m your second father. You’re my son—more to me nor any son. I’ve put away money, only for you to spend. When I was a hired-out shepherd in a solitary hut, not seeing no faces but faces of sheep till I half-forgot wot men’s and women’s faces wos like, I see yourn. . . . I see you there a many times plain as ever I see you on them misty marshes. ‘Lord strike me dead!’ I says each time—and I goes out in the open air to say it under the open heavens—‘but wot, if I gets liberty and money, I’ll make that boy a gentleman!’ And I done it. Why, look at you, dear boy! Look at these here lodgings of yourn, fit for a lord! A lord? Ah! You shall show money with lords for wagers, and beat ’em!”
"Dear boy," he said, as I sat down by his bed: "I thought you was late. But I knowed you couldn't be that."
"It is just the time," said I. "I waited for it at the gate."
"You always waits at the gate; don't you, dear boy?"
"Yes. Not to lose a moment of the time."
"Thank'ee dear boy, thank'ee. God bless you! You've never deserted me, dear boy."
I pressed his hand in silence, for I could not forget that I had once meant to desert him.
"And what's the best of all," he said, "you've been more comfortable alonger me, since I was under a dark cloud, than when the sun shone. That's best of all."
He lay on his back, breathing with great difficulty. Do what he would, and love me though he did, the light left his face ever and again, and a film came over the placid look at the white ceiling.
Pip and Joe
Selfless love is personified by Joe in the novel. Joe's simplicity demonstrates the power of love to overcome rejection and absence. After Pip has been ill, Joe's generosity towards him is as unquestioning and unreserved as when Pip was a small child. The relationship between Pip and Joe changed as Pip grew up. As a child, Pip regarded Joe as an equal, though he loved him, "I had a new sensation of feeling conscious that I was looking up to Joe in my heart." Though there is love, the snobbish Pip is critical of Joe, not verbally, but in his thoughts. When Pip attains his "Great Expectations," he is embarrassed by what he regards as Joe's commonness and avoids his company. Pip's conscience makes him realise, Joe has more gentlemanly qualities than he himself possesses, his remorse however is short lived. When Pip's fortunes take a fall he is too ashamed to approach Joe and Biddy, their love is too strong however and are there for Pip in his hour of need. Joe forgives Pip for his arrogance and it is through this forgiveness that Pip is able to emerge from his guilt and regret into an atmosphere of warmth and companionship.
1. What are the three stages of Pip and Joe's relationship?
What causes the relationship to undergo these changes?
2. How does love play in this transforming relationship?
3. To what extent is does forgiveness feature in this transforming relationship?
4. Why did Dickens develop these characters to expose this theme? What lessons did he intend for the reader to take from this?
What can we learn from Dickens deliberate characterization in Great Expectations
"They took up several obviously wrong people, and they ran their heads very hard against wrong ideas, and persisted in trying to fit the circumstances to the ideas, instead of trying to extract ideas from the circumstances."
Dickens exposes the legal system as being entirely corrupt. He presents the justice system of Victorian England as unfair, inefficient, and prejudiced. However, despite all of this there is natural justice at work.
How is Justice exposed in the text?
Jaggers and Justice
As one of the most important criminal lawyers in London, Jaggers is hired by Magwitch to supervise Pip’s elevation to the upper class. After his success in Molly's case Jaggers developed a strong reputation which he in turn used to manipulate people. He allowed people to form a dependency on him and then used this dependency to extract money from his clients, often for very little service in return. Jaggers has no moral perspective on any of his clients and manipulates their feelings of guilt in order to get money from them; Jaggers sole purpose is to make money. Jaggers is privy to some dirty business; he consorts with vicious criminals, and even they are terrified of him. Jaggers smells strongly of soap: he washes his hands obsessively as a psychological mechanism to keep the criminal taint from corrupting him.
For Jaggers, good and bad, right and wrong don’t enter the equation.’ He knows the law is a game and he acts entirely in accordance with its rules – that’s his job, that’s what he is paid for. For a fee, he will turn murder into manslaughter, lies into truth. He will not become emotionally involved, he suppresses any personal opinion, he constantly washes his hands of responsibility. Jaggers’ absorption in his role is complete, twenty-four hours a day: even the furnishings in his bachelor apartments in Gerrard Street have ‘an official look’, and his bookcase is full of titles relating to ‘evidence, criminal law, criminals, biography, trials, acts of parliament and such things.’ Even out of court, he doesn’t talk to people so much as cross-examine them forensically. He is, as Wemmick puts it in Chapter 24, predatory: ‘a man-trap … Suddenly – click – you’re caught.'
In your table groups, identify 3 instances where Jaggers exposes the theme of Justice. Discuss how these instances portray the theme, and why you think Dickens has done this.
You will ALL need to make notes of what you have discussed and be prepared to feed back to the class.
Magwitch and Justice
Probably the most evident example of prejudice in the justice system is in the court case with Compeyson and Magwich. In this scene, Magwich and Compeyson have been brought before a court room. When Compeyson goes before the court, he has dressed himself up to look like a gentleman, knowing that the court would favor a man that looks more respectable. And we'll just say Magwich is not one of the cleanest or best looking people in the world. With the court already on his side, Compeyson continues to argue in a much more articulate way than Magwich is capable. After hearing this, the court decided to give Magwich a fourteen year sentence in prison. The court agreed that Compeyson seemed to be a good man and he was just a victim of following under poor guidance. The court then proceeded to let Compeyson off with a much lighter sentence of seven years in prison.
1.Why are the sentences different for the same crime or Magwitch and Compeyson.
What does this indicate about the administration of the Justice system in this society?
How does Magwitch advocate Dickens beliefs about the Justice System.
Injustice in the text
Miss Havisham is unjustly treated by Compeyson.
Magwitch is unjustly punished at the beginning of the novel, and the justice which finally hunts Magwitch down is harsh and unforgiving.
Pip and Estella were the innocent victims of Miss Havisham's revenge.
Pip treats Joe and Biddy with no respect for justice.
Orlick unjustly attacks Mrs Joe, and then seizes his own chance of 'justice' in his revenge on Pip.
Natural Justice at work
Joe and Biddy deserve each other, and end up happily together.
Herbert wins good-natured Clara Barley and makes the best of Pips money.
Miss Havisham dies in a fire symbolic of her own vengeful nature.
Estella pays for her coldness in an unhappy marriage to Bentley Drummle.
Magwitch's hardowrk and unselfishness are finally rewarded by the sight of his 'gentleman'.
In Charles Dickens' novel, Great Expectations, there are several differences between illusion and reality. The appearance of certain things is often detrimental to the outcomes of characters when the reality of a situation is revealed. These illusion are dominantly portrayed through Pip. Throughout the book, Charles Dickens emphasizes the difference between appearance and reality through Pip's expectations of something better, social status, Estella, and settings in the book.
Miss Havisham and Estella and the strange house and the strange life appeared to have something to do with everything that was picturesque.
How are Illusion and Reality exposed in the text?
As readers we are aware that Pips feelings towards Estella are those of infatuation. Pip falls in love with Estella's outer beauty, and fails to see the harsh inner self. Because Estella is seemingly unattainable, Pips infatuation with her grows and therefore her "beauty" in Pips mind too grows. When Pip compares himself with his illusions of Estella he sees himself as coarse and common. Estella comes to represent all that Pip aspires to be in life. Pip becomes so blinded by his illusions of Estella that when he learns of her cold-hearted and proud nature and that she is trained to break mens hearts, he holds fast to his illusions even though she has made the reality clear. Jaggers furthermore attempts to break Pips thoughts by showing him just how illusory his thoughts of Estella have been, and how wrong he has been to base his judgements and aspirations off illusions; after all Estella in reality is the daughter of a convict and is of lower class than Pip. Yet Estella's outer beauty remains untarnished for Pip, and the revelation enhances for him her inner beauty.
This is Estella!
Draw your own Estella.
Within the outline you need to write down aspects of her inner self (reality), and surrounding her aspects of her outer self (illusions). Provide evidence ie. Quotes, references to events/actions, and references to chapters.
Write 5-10 sentences summarizing the significance of Estella's inner/outer beauty and how Pip perceives her, and why you think Dickens presented this to the readers.
Dreams and Expectations
For Pip, London represents all that he dreams of - wealth, society, glitter and glamor. The reality is, as he finds, quite the opposite. He is bitterly disappointed to find that it is dirty, dingy, squalid and depressing. From the time he met Estella, Pip had the illusion that wealth and status equalled happiness. This, and the desire to be worthy of Estella, underpinned all his hopes and dreams. This illusion had such a great hold on Pip that he ignored the growing evidence of reality; the squalor of London, the corruption of some of its so-called wealthy inhabitants, the shallowness of the behaviour of his 'friends' and acquaintances, and the pointless, wastrel nature of his own lifestyle. His illusions led him to overlook and dismiss the genuine goodness in those of more modest means, and it is not until the harsh reality of the loss of his fortune strikes home that he shakes of his illusions and confronts reality - that a true gentleman does not need wealth or status.
This is Pip head!
Draw your own version of Pips head.
Inside the brain you need to write the Illusions Pip has thought up. Outside the head write down how things actually are in reality, outside of Pips thoughts.
Write 5-10 sentences summarizing the significance of the differences between the illusions and reality, and why you think Dickens portrayed this to the reader.
One step further...
We have looked at reality and illusion, however it's important to also consider the subtle role of appearance. Reality being the facts, appearance being the outward constructions, and illusions being Pips thoughts.
Complete the following diagram by finishing off the given examples and adding your own ideas.
Estella is cold-hearted and proud
Estella outwardly beautiful and acts cruelly
Estella is a desirable Goddess
Miss H is his benefactor and intends on him marrying Estella.
Money breeds happiness
London is wealthy and glamorous
"I wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have been so too."
Money, class and snobbery is the underlying theme that pulls the text together. It is the common thread that sews the setting, characters and themes together.
How are Money, Class and Snobbery exposed in the text?
Victorian society was built on a belief in capitalism, however in the novel money is seen as a corrupting force. The power of money to corrupt is predominantly evident in four characters - Pip, Magwitch, Miss Havisham and Jaggers.
1. Pip is corrupted by money due to his materialistic desire for something 'valuable' which makes him obsessed with Estella, and inspires him to abandon Joe, the forge and his real moral values and to live a degraded life in London.
2. Magwitchs greed for money subsequently resulted in his downfall and tragedy. Furthermore, he believes that his money will free Pip from his poverty, when in fact it imprisons him further until it is finally confiscated.
3. Miss Havisham uses her money to create in Estella someone who will enable her to take revenge on men.
4. Jaggers is solely out to make money. The capacity to pay Jaggers as a defence lawyer may mean the difference between freedom and imprisonment, life and death for those accused of crime.
What was said ...
"We spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us. We were always more or less miserable, and most of our acquaintance were in the same condition. There was a gay fiction among us that we were constantly enjoying ourselves, and a skeleton truth that we never did. To the best of my belief, our case was in the last aspect a rather common one."
In your own words explain what this quote is saying about money
Ultimately the novel is saying:
1. wealth is no guarantee of happiness
2. inherited wealth carries great dangers
3. it is in hard work to earn a modest living that contentment may be found.
These are the lessons Dickens intended the reader to take away.
Using these lessons, write 5-10 sentences on how Dickens has used one of the following characters to achieve this: Pip, Magwitch, Miss Havisham or Jaggers.
NB. Think about their actions and the events they are involved in.
Class and Snobbery
Closely linked to wealth and money is the concept of class, and with class comes snobbery. Throughout Great Expectations, Dickens explores the class system of Victorian England, ranging from the most wretched criminals (Magwitch) to the poor peasants of the marsh country (Joe and Biddy) to the middle class (Pumblechook) to the very rich (Miss Havisham). Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the novel’s treatment of social class is that the class system it portrays is based on the post-Industrial Revolution model of Victorian England. Dickens generally ignores the nobility and the hereditary aristocracy in favor of characters whose fortunes have been earned through commerce.
Class and Snobbery in the text
Dickens ruthlessly exposes Pip's snobbish desire to be a 'gentleman' and to live in the same exalted circle as Estella and Miss Havisham. However, Pip eventually reaches a realization that wealth and class are less important than affection, loyalty, and inner worth. Pip achieves this realization when he is finally able to understand that, despite the esteem in which he holds Estella, one’s social status is in no way connected to one’s real character. Estella appears to be of high class and therefore unattainable, however we learn that she is in fact cold-hearted and the daughter of a convict and murderess. The most socially elevated characters in the novel are also some of the most repulsive: Miss Havisham (deranged), Bentley Drummle (violent and destructive) and Jaggers (Corrupt). Compeyson's 'gentlemanliness' is what gets him off lightly while Magwitch has to pay the full price for his crimes. Again, the characters who form the moral center of the novel, Joe and Biddy, are from the 'respectable working class'. Pip returns to their values once he has acknowledged the hallowness and corruption of his dreams. By this stage he is a gentleman in the true, deeper sense of the word.
Under the Microscope
Lets take a closer look at Pip and how his actions expose this idea of class and snobbery.
1. Describe Pip's attitude towards social status and class. Use relevant evidence from the text.
2. Explain how his attitude towards class contribute to his tragedy. Make reference to his illusions and his relationships with others.
3. Explain the revelation Pip has at the end of the text and it's significance to the text as a whole.
Complete the following diagram to show the interconnected nature of the themes we have covered of the last five lessons. You are essentially summarizing the previous lessons by adding details - textual references, significance of details, and what Dickens intentions were.
Money, Class and Snobbery
Love and Forgiveness
Illusion and Reality
“In great literature, characters learn more from their journey than from their destination.” To what extend to you agree with this view? Respond to this question with close reference to the text.
Complete the following essay question ready to hand in at the beginning of Thursdays lesson.
The link to the Prezi Presentation will be sent your school email so you can access the class notes.
The characters who are inherently good and noble are those who display the greatest warmth, love and unselfishness. Furthermore, they are those who are unconcerned with wealth or incapable of making money without benevolent assistance ie. Joe, Biddy and Herbert Pocket.