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Great Expectations

Biographical Critical Theory
by

Cailey Stiteler

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of Great Expectations

Father was imprisoned for failure to repay debt
Could relate to the creation of Abel Magwitch in that Dickens' father was imprisoned simply because he was poor, therefore he could not pay off debt - Magwitch was poor and had to follow Compeyson

Dickens had to work in a boot-blacking factory in order to pay off the debt his father left behind
Dickens had no choice but to stay behind and help his family
May have written Pip with a choice to leave to explore what could have happened had Dickens left his family
Dickens became very involved in the theater and drama
Mr. Wopsle portrays Dickens' interest in the theater when Mr. Wopsle acts in the play Hamlet
Great Expectations
Biographical Criticism

Sydney Kieler
Cailey Stiteler
Emily Upton

Charles Dickens
Born February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, England
2nd of 5 children born into a poor family
Childhood
Some of Dickens' siblings died during infancy
"To five little stone lozenges...were scarred to the memory of five little brothers of mine - who gave up trying to get a living exceedingly early in that universal struggle" (pg 1)
Dickens' father was not well educated and on shakey financial ground
"I'm wrong in these clothes. I'm wrong out of the forge, the kitchen, or off th' meshes." (pg 209)
Dickens was taken out of school because his family could no longer pay the fees
A benefactor was written in for Pip so Dickens could explore how his life would have turned out had he been able to stay in school
February 1824, Age 12
Dickens' father received inheritance and used it to pay off his debt
Pip was written to receive the inheritance because Dickens' wanted the freedom from his family that Pip had
1826, Age 14
Dickens took a job as a law clerk in London to support his family
Dickens' sensitivity to Wemmick
1830, Age 18
Dickens fell in love with Maria Beadnell

Maria came from a wealthy, good standing family
Similar to Estella's character
Her family was not excited about the relationship and sent Maria away to school in Paris to discourage their relationship
"You are looking round for Estella? Hey?"...I had been looking round...I hoped she was well..."Abroad...educating for a lady; far out of reach, prettier than ever, admired by all who see her..." (pg 108)
"Break their hearts, my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy!" (pg 88)
1836, Age 24
May 1824, Age 12
Dickens marries Catherine Hogarth
Have ten children over the next 15 years
Similar to the Pocket family
Dickens did not approve of Catherine's lack of energy
"[Mrs. Pocket] had grown up highly ornamental, but perfectly helpless and useless." (pg 176)
Dickens became very overwhelmed because of how many children he had to provide for, and the stress of keeping up with the multiple magazines he wrote for
Scared he might slip back into poverty
"...put his two hands into his disturbed hair, and appeared to make an extraordinary effort to lift himself up by it." (pg 178)
The Beginnings of Adulthood
Once Dickens began making a name for himself, his father constantly came to him for money
Extended family saw him as "something to be plucked and torn to pieces for their advantage"
"Dear Miss Havisham," said Miss Sarah Pocket. "How well you look!...I do not," returned Miss Havisham. "I am yellow skin and bone."
"This is my birthday, Pip...I don't suffer it to be spoken of. I don't suffer those who were here just now, or any one, to speak of it. They come here on the day, but they dare not refer to it."
Life With Money
Family Disappointments
As time went on, his marriage worsened and he grew disappointed in his children
This could be the reason for the numerous unflattering portrayals of families
1857, Age 45
Dickens met and fell in love with 18 year old actress Ellen Turnan
They had to hide their relationship from the Victorian public
“it seems to me that in the despondency of the tender passion, we are looking into our gift-horse’s mouth with a magnifying glass"
1860, Age 48
Articles written over period of time are finally published into what is now known as "Great Expectations"
1870, Age 58 Death
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