Great Expectations

Great Expectations Essay

In the intricately crafted novel Great Expectations, Charles Dickens explores the concept of belonging through various themes and techniques. Through analysis we can establish four sub-categories that contribute largely to Pip’s sense of belonging, being social, familial, locative and intimate belonging. Whilst we as an audience venture on the journey with Pip to finding where he belongs, we discover how characters relationships with each other and how they interact with their environment can affect Pip’s sense of belonging.

The first facet of belonging that is explored in Great Expectations is social belonging, Pip finds that trying to find where he belongs in society affects his sense of belonging. In the first stage on the book Pip feels as though he doesn’t belong in the working class and is not excited about his potential future as a blacksmith. However, when he moves to London and becomes more ‘socially advanced’ he still doesn’t feel like he belongs. London is where he anticipated he would belong from the beginning, but really underneath the surface it was just a grimy dirty place. When Pip returns to the marshes of Kent he realises that this was where he belonged all along. In the first stage of the book Dickens emphasised the colloquial language that was used by the people of Kent, almost satirising them outlining their social status. Not only social belonging but also familial belonging are important in understanding Pip’s true sense of belonging.

We can also see that familial belonging is evident in Great Expectations, in fact family is an ongoing issue throughout the text. Initially we sympathise with Pip because of how Mrs Joe his sister, his closest blood relative treats him, because she ‘brought him up by hand’. However Pip is comforted by Joe Gargery because he truly loves and cares for Pip. A main theme in the book is guilt, Pip suffers with this when he leaves for London and doesn’t keep in contact with Joe....