Theme of Childhood in Great Expectations

Discuss how dickens presents the theme of childhood in the first volume of great expectations.

From the very start of the novel we see a strong theme of childhood presented.   Dickens himself had a tough life having to go out and work at the age of eight and his father being imprisoned. Not only was the job itself miserable, but he considered himself too good for it. This represents the title “great expectations” as Dickens had always wanted to go far in life. He didn’t want to be labeled in the “working class.” Dickens was an ambitious child who during his childhood experienced great disappointment and also neglect.
    Great Expectations is set in early Victorian England, a time when great social changes were sweeping the nation. In these vitctorian times children worked hard to satisfy the needs of their parents because families were very poor and they didn't have enough money. This too was experienced by Pip, the novel’s protagonist. He lives in the marsh country, works at a job he hates, considers himself too good for his surroundings, and experiences material success in London at a very early age, exactly as Dickens himself did.
      The first chapters of the novel introduce pip as both child and protagonist. Pip is a young child who Dickens masterfully uses Pip as narrator looking back on his own story as an adult to evoke the feelings and problems of childhood. Pip portrays children’s innocence as well as giving us an insight as to how children were treated and how they understood things in those times.     I give Pirrip as my father's name on the authority of his tombstone. We discover immediately that Pip is an orphan and one with whom we sympathize.   In this first chapter of the novel Pip is looking at his parents gravestones, a scene where dickens makes comical by having   Pip ponder the exact inscriptions on the toombstone. This shows that Pip was uneducated as he couldn’t properly read the inscriptions and it also reminds us of Pip’s tough life...